L&S Curricular Connections

Big Ideas Courses

Class photo with Professors Kent Lightfoot and Scott Stephens in the middle
Photo credit: Mathew Burciaga, Communications specialist, College of Natural Resources

Anthropology C12AC / Environmental Science, Policy, and Management C22AC 

Fire: Past, Present and Future Interactions with the People and Ecosystems of California

Historical Studies; Social & Behavioral Sciences

The course presents a diachronic perspective on human-fire interactions with local ecosystems in California that spans over 10,000 years. The course will provide an historical perspective on human-fire interactions at the landscape scale using a diverse range of data sources drawn from the fields of fire ecology, biology, history, anthropology, and archaeology. An important component includes examining how diverse cultures and ethnicity influenced how people perceived and used fire at the landscape scale in ancient, historical and modern times. The implications of these diverse fire practices and policies will be analyzed and the consequences they have had for transforming habitats and propagating catastrophic fires will be explored.

Kent Lightfoot faculty profile
Kent Lightfoot (Anthropology)
Scott Stephens faculty profile
Scott Stephens (Environmental Science, Policy, and Management)

Terms Offered

  • Spring 2024
  • Fall 2022
  • Fall 2021
  • Fall 2019
  • Fall 2018
“Watching Kent and Scott work together showed me what healthy academic relationships look like, and it was seeing this, along with hearing their stories about historical academic dynamics, that has helped me appreciate the impact people's interactions have on fire research, policy, and, ultimately, the fires themselves. Both these professors are absolute gems.”
— Fall 2022 Student
“I loved that this course has a professor from the ESPM department and an instructor from the Anthropology department because it helps you to see different perspectives. I would not change anything, this class is already perfect. I hope future UC Berkeley students enroll in this course because it is definitely unique.”
— Fall 2022 Student
Professors Kent Lightfoot and Scott Stephens teaching in a lecture hall
Photo credit: Mathew Burciaga, Communications specialist, College of Natural Resources