Dr. David Casagrande

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Picture of Dr.David Casagrande

Associate Professor of Anthropology

 

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STEPS Building, Room 436
Lehigh University
1 West Packer Ave.
Bethlehem, PA 18015

Tel: (610) 758-2672

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Below is a list of all the courses I teach at Lehigh University. You'll find a description of each course and what is required from students who take these classes, plus the curriculum details. Feel free to contact me about any of these classes.

 
dave speaking

 

Introduction to Environmental Studies (ES 1)

The study of environmental issues from the perspectives of the social sciences and humanities. This course includes a brief overview of environmental history, ethics, politics and economics. The primary goals are to learn critical thinking and some basic social science methods from sociology, psychology and anthropology. We use these to critique environmental policy. Issues we discuss include energy & climate change, endangered species & biodiversity, water & air pollution, water scarcity, sustainability & resiliency, agriculture, and environmental justice. Students complete weekly reading assignments, take-home research assignments, in-class group problem-solving exercises, and independent research projects. There are also weekly quizzes and two comprehensive exams.

This 4 credit-hour course is taught every spring. It is a social science (SS) distribution course in the College of Arts & Sciences, and is required for the Environmental Studies major and minor. There are no prerequisites.

Environment & Culture (ANTH 121, ES 121)

In this course we examine environmental issues in the context of human ecology and cultural adaptation using theories and methods from anthropology. We consider how different cultures engage environmental issues and explore strategies for solving environmental problems that span cultural boundaries. Environmental issues covered include global climate change, biodiversity, water scarcity, global sustainability, and human rights. Upon completion of the course, you should be able to: 1) define environmental problems using viewpoints from more than one culture; 2) analyze environmental issues using theory-based comparisons of human behavior through time and across cultures; 3) apply ethnographic methods to the study of environmental problems; and 4) develop policy recommendations in group settings. To achieve these goals, students will complete weekly reading assignments, short take-home research assignments, in-class group problem-solving exercises, and an independent research project. There are also two short-essay exams.

This is a 4 credit-hour social science (SS) distribution course in the College of Arts & Sciences, taught every fall. It is a core course in the Environmental Studies major and may be used to fulfill the core course requirement in the ES minor, and is an elective in the Anthropology and Sociology & Anthropology majors. It may count as the one permitted anthropology elective in the Sociology & Social Psychology major. There are no prerequisites.

Religion, Witchcraft & Shamanism  (ANTH 335, REL 335)

Why do all cultures have supernatural beliefs? Do these beliefs have a social function? Does this prove there is a supreme being, or is there an evolutionary explanation for religion? The goals of this course are to use tools from anthropology and evolutionary psychology to explain and appreciate the variety of supernatural beliefs and practices found in cultures very different from our own. We will examine beliefs and practices dealing with the supernatural and religion from different cultures, the functions and social positions of spiritual leaders like shamans, psychological perspectives on altered states of consciousness, and how supernatural beliefs influence individual psychology and social organization. The format includes lectures by the instructor, films viewed in the classroom, extensive reading outside of the classroom, small group discussions, weekly short writing assignments, two short papers and two short-essay exams.

This is a 4 credit hour social science (SS) distribution course in the College of Arts & Sciences. It is an elective in the Anthropology and Sociology & Anthropology majors. It may count as the one permitted anthropology elective in the Sociology & Social Psychology major. It is an elective in the Religious Studies majors and minors. There are no prerequisites.

Information Ecology (ES 397, ES 497, SSP 397, SSP 497)

We live in an age of global information. Understanding the role of information in social processes is more important than ever. Information Ecology is a brand new field of analysis. Students in this seminar combine information theory, critical theory, systems theory and ecological principles to model individual cognition and social organization in human ecosystems. These concepts are applied to environmental policy analysis using case studies. Students don't need prior expertise in the fields of ecology or information science.

This is a 4 credit hour course, open to graduate students and senior undergraduates. It is an elective in the Sociology and Environmental Policy Design masters programs and the undergraduate majors in Sociology & Anthropology and Sociology & Social Psychology. There are no prerequisites.

Peoples & Cultures of Latin America (under development)

In this course we examine the Latin American experience by looking at social change from the perspective of indigenous peoples. The main goals are: 1) to develop an appreciation for the diversity of cultures found in Latin America; 2) to develop anthropological concepts like cultural ecology, ethnicity, acculturation, religious syncretism, and resistance; and 3) apply these concepts and critical thinking to social problems. Issues will include cultural survival, human rights, and environmental/cultural sustainability of indigenous peoples of Latin America. The course is divided into five sections. The first part provides an historical perspective. This is followed by four case studies chosen to represent resistance and change from a variety of cultural and theoretical perspectives. Cultures may include the Tzeltal Maya and Nahuatl of Mexico, Kayapo of the Brazilian rainforest, and the Aymara of the Bolivian highlands. How are each of these groups similar and yet different? How have European and indigenous cultures blended to create the cultural diversity we see today? Will these cultures survive or become extinct in this era of high migration and rapid globalization? We will examine these and other questions in detail through extensive reading, writing, and discussion, supplemented with lectures by the instructor.

This is a 4 credit hour course. It is a social science (SS) distribution course in the College of Arts & Sciences. This is an elective in the Anthropology and Sociology & Anthropology majors and the Latin American Studies minor. It may count as the one permitted anthropology elective in the Sociology & Social Psychology major. There are no prerequisites.

"Scientists believe in proof without certainty: most people believe in certainty without proof."

Ashley Montagu