Ecology and Society

By Prof. Ngamjahao Kipgen   |   IIT Guwahati
Learners enrolled: 271
The course focuses on the ecology of human societies –human-environment relationships, with reference to cultural ecology and issues surrounding sustainable development. The ecology of human societies is about connections between ecological and human social, cultural, and organizational processes. Based on selected works of ecological anthropologists, this course focuses on the dynamic relationships between human cultures and their ecological environments. It uses basic concepts of anthropology, including the concept of culture as a dynamic system of learned behaviours and beliefs, to better understand how human beings adapt to and change their physical and social surroundings.

INTENDED AUDIENCE : UG and PG students of Humanities and Social Sciences, Sciences and Engineering
Course Status : Upcoming
Course Type : Elective
Duration : 12 weeks
Start Date : 26 Jul 2021
End Date : 15 Oct 2021
Exam Date : 24 Oct 2021
Enrollment Ends : 02 Aug 2021
Category :
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit Points : 3
Level : Undergraduate/Postgraduate

Course layout

Week 1: Introduction: Ecology and society; Culture and cultural ecology
Week 2: Cultural ecology and human ecology: Concepts and Meanings
Week 3: Human ecology: Theoretical approach; Ecological anthropology perspectives
Week 4: Models of human ecology; Nature and culture debate
Week 5: Conceptions of natures; Contested domains and boundaries of culture
Week 6: Paradigms in human—environmental relations
Week 7: Nature, environment and belief systems
Week 8: Religion in an age of environmental crisis I
Week 9: Religion in an age of environmental crisis  II; Environmental ethics I
Week 10: Environmental ethics II
Week 11: Natural Resource Management
Week 12: Debates on shifting cultivation; Course summary

Books and references

1. Descola, P and Pálsson, G. (Eds.), Nature and Society: Anthropological perspectives, Routledge, London and New York, 1996.
2. Ellen, R, Parkes, P and Bicker, A. (Eds.), Indigenous Environmental Knowledge and its Transformations Critical Anthropological Perspectives, Harwood academic publishers, U.K., 2005.
3. Gottlieb, S. R. (Eds.), This Sacred Earth: Religion, Nature, Environment, Routledge, New York and London, 2004.
4. Rappaport, R. A, Ecology, Meaning, and Religion, North Atlantic Books, Richmond, California, 1979.

Instructor bio

Prof. Ngamjahao Kipgen

IIT Guwahati
Ngamjahao Kigpen is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati. His areas of research include environmental sociology, political sociology, cultural politics, ethnicity and nationalism in northeast India. He has been contributing research papers to reputed international peer-reviewed journals. He teaches The Study of Society, Environment and Development, Concepts and Ideologies in Social Life, Sociology of Religion, Sociological Perspectives on Modernity, and Research Methods in Sociology at IIT Guwahati.

Course certificate

The course is free to enroll and learn from. But if you want a certificate, you have to register and write the proctored exam conducted by us in person at any of the designated exam centres.
The exam is optional for a fee of Rs 1000/- (Rupees one thousand only).
Date and Time of Exams: 24 October 2021 Morning session 9am to 12 noon; Afternoon Session 2pm to 5pm.
Registration url: Announcements will be made when the registration form is open for registrations.
The online registration form has to be filled and the certification exam fee needs to be paid. More details will be made available when the exam registration form is published. If there are any changes, it will be mentioned then.
Please check the form for more details on the cities where the exams will be held, the conditions you agree to when you fill the form etc.


Average assignment score = 25% of average of best 8 assignments out of the total 12 assignments given in the course.
Exam score = 75% of the proctored certification exam score out of 100

Final score = Average assignment score + Exam score

YOU WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR A CERTIFICATE ONLY IF AVERAGE ASSIGNMENT SCORE >=10/25 AND EXAM SCORE >= 30/75. If one of the 2 criteria is not met, you will not get the certificate even if the Final score >= 40/100.

Certificate will have your name, photograph and the score in the final exam with the breakup.It will have the logos of NPTEL and IIT Guwahati .It will be e-verifiable at nptel.ac.in/noc.

Only the e-certificate will be made available. Hard copies will not be dispatched.

Once again, thanks for your interest in our online courses and certification. Happy learning.

- NPTEL team

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