Our brief overview of developments in environmental anthropology since 1980 and their antecedents is organized around three themes: systems ecology, political ecology, and cognitive science. In some areas, the context is familiar. As Latour recently observed, the intellectual themes captured by the emergent concept of the Anthropocene have long been familiar to anthropologists. After decades of research on human–environmental interactions, anthropology, and more particularly environmental anthropology, suddenly finds itself pushed into prominence. A vibrant and kaleidoscopic research agenda has ensued and borrows extensively from other disciplines. This agenda coincides with increased interest in coupled human and natural systems from both the social and the natural sciences. Such attention is not solely the product of academic integration or the analytical reflection of empirical realities; it also stems from growing concern over the role of humans in the global transformation of the environment.


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