Special Course Descriptions
Ant 294 Special Topics: Traditional Ecological Knowledge
Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) refers to the knowledge base acquired by indigenous
and local peoples over many hundreds of years through direct contact with the environment.
It includes nomenclature, classification, beliefs, rituals, technology, environmental
management strategies and worldviews - all of which have helped shape environments for
millennia. This course explores these different forms of knowledge and poses a series of
questions about their importance and use, questions such as: Who possesses TEK? Who "owns"
TEK? Should the owners of TEK be compensated for their knowledge just a corporation is
compensated for original and creative ideas and technologies? Does all TEK promote
sustainability? Can nation-states utilize spiritually based TEK? What are the impacts on
indigenous groups when TEK is "promoted"? How can traditional knowledge of the natural
world be responsibly collected, studied and applied in modern medicine and global commerce?