Environmental Anthropology Study Abroad

Environmental Anthropology in Costa Rica

July 6-29, 2012

ANTH/GEOG 4275/6275: Communities, Conservation & Development on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast (3 credits)

Over the last few decades Costa Rica has come to be recognized globally as an icon of successful conservation.  In the process, conservation and the tourism associated with it have made major contributions to the Costa Rican economy.  However, Costa Rica now faces a number of challenges that threaten to undermine the progress it has made.  In coastal areas in particular, rapid development is affecting both ecosystems and local community livelihoods.

This course will focus on the affects of coastal development on both conservation and local communities in Guanacaste Province, on Costa Rica’s northern Pacific coast.   During the course we will travel up the coast, from Malpais to Santa Rosa National Park.  We will visit both local communities and sites of rapid coastal development – resorts, large housing tracts and gated communities.  In the process we will meet with people representing different viewpoints on coastal development.  Course assignments will focus on integrating what you are learning experientially with literature on the anthropology and political ecology of conservation and development.

ANTH 4900/6900: The Anthropology of Surfing (3 credits)

Surfing is simultaneously a sport, a lifestyle, and an iconic part of American pop culture.  It is also an ideal lens for analyzing a range of contemporary cultural processes associated with globalization.  This course will introduce you to surfing as a cultural phenomenon.  We will begin by learning about the history of surfing, particularly as it has become increasingly internationalized in recent decades.  We will also focus on a range of specific topics: Surfing in popular culture, surf tourism, the commodification of surfing, contest culture, surfing and gender, and the production of recreational spaces.

This course will emphasize an ethnographic approach to the study of surfing.  During our time in Costa Rica we will be traveling to multiple locations where surfing is a dominant activity, and we will be interacting on a daily basis with surfers from Costa Rica, the US and elsewhere.  Through both guided observations and daily encounters, students will document their experiences through a series of written and visual assignments.

Students will receive 6 credits for this program.  The cost of the program is approximately $3,050, not including airfare.  Note that out of state students pay in-state tuition.  The application deadline is March 21.  This course will be limited to 10 students.

For additional information on the program:

http://www.externalaffairs.uga.edu/costa_rica/index.php/site/program_detail/communities_conservation_and_development/students

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