Ecology and Society


Prof. Ngamjahao Kipgen

IIT Guwahati

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SKU: IIT Guwahati Category:


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.


UG and PG students of Humanities and Social Sciences, Sciences and Engineering


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.

Additional information



Total hours


Certification Process

1. Join the course
Learners may pay the applicable fees and enrol to a course on offer in the portal and get access to all of its contents including assignments. Validity of enrolment, which includes access to the videos and other learning material and attempting the assignments, will be mentioned on the course. Learner has to complete the assignments and get the minimum required marks to be eligible for the certification exam within this period.

COURSE ENROLMENT FEE: The Fee for Enrolment is Rs. 3000 + GST

2. Watch Videos+Submit Assignments
After enrolling, learners can watch lectures and learn and follow it up with attempting/answering the assignments given.

3. Get qualified to register for exams
A learner can earn a certificate in the self paced course only by appearing for the online remote proctored exam and to register for this, the learner should get minimum required marks in the assignments as given below:

Assignment score = Score more than 50% in at least 9/12 assignments.
Exam score = 50% of the proctored certification exam score out of 100
Only the e-certificate will be made available. Hard copies will not be dispatched.”

4. Register for exams
The certification exam is conducted online with remote proctoring. Once a learner has become eligible to register for the certification exam, they can choose a slot convenient to them from what is available and pay the exam fee. Schedule of available slot dates/timings for these remote-proctored online examinations will be published and made available to the learners.

EXAM FEE: The remote proctoring exam is optional for a fee of Rs.1500 + GST. An additional fee of Rs.1500 will apply for a non-standard time slot.

5. Results and Certification
After the exam, based on the certification criteria of the course, results will be declared and learners will be notified of the same. A link to download the e-certificate will be shared with learners who pass the certification exam.


Course Details

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.


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