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Graduate Course Proposal Form Submission Detail - ANT5406
Tracking Number - 5091

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Current Status: Approved by SCNS - 2015-04-01
Campus: St Petersburg
Submission Type: New
Course Change Information (for course changes only):
Comments: USF-STPT approved 3/17/15. to USF Sys 3/18/15. to SCNS 3/26/15. Nmbr 5537 Apprd as 6406. Effective 4/1/15

Detail Information

  1. Date & Time Submitted: 2014-10-13
  2. Department: Geography and Environmental Science and Policy
  3. College: AP
  4. Budget Account Number:
  5. Contact Person: Dona J. Stewart
  6. Phone: 34066
  7. Email:
  8. Prefix: ANT
  9. Number: 5406
  10. Full Title: Ethnobotany: People, Plants and Culture
  11. Credit Hours: 3
  12. Section Type: D - Discussion (Primarily)
  13. Is the course title variable?: N
  14. Is a permit required for registration?: N
  15. Are the credit hours variable?: N
  16. Is this course repeatable?: Y
  17. If repeatable, how many times?: 1
  18. Abbreviated Title (30 characters maximum): Ethnobotany
  19. Course Online?: C - Face-to-face (0% online)
  20. Percentage Online: 0
  21. Grading Option: -
  22. Prerequisites: None
  23. Corequisites: None
  24. Course Description: This course examines the structure and function of plants, the development of the field of ethnobotany, and the practice of ethnobotany.

  25. Please briefly explain why it is necessary and/or desirable to add this course: Needed for program/concentration/certificate change
  26. What is the need or demand for this course? (Indicate if this course is part of a required sequence in the major.) What other programs would this course service? This is a new elective course that will support our revised MA degree. The revisions to the MA are being made to meet identified student interest and more accurately reflect current and emerging themes within the discipline.
  27. Has this course been offered as Selected Topics/Experimental Topics course? If yes, how many times? No
  28. What qualifications for training and/or experience are necessary to teach this course? (List minimum qualifications for the instructor.) Ph.D. in Anthropology
  29. Objectives: In this course we will examine the structure and function of plants, the development of the field of ethnobotany, learn how ethnobotany is practiced, develop an understanding of the complexity of the field, and gain an appreciation of the abundance of locally used plants in cross-cultural context.
  30. Learning Outcomes: Upon Completion of this course, students will demonstrate the ability to:

    Knowledge Component

    1. Explain why ecological relationships between humans and plants can be said to span

    a continuum of increasing intensity of interaction..

    2. Discuss the causes and consequences of plant domestication and agricultural subsistence.

    3. Discuss the nutritional, social, and economic significance of wild plant foods in both foraging and agricultural populations.

    4. Explain what and how Western medical practitioners can learn from the plant lore of traditional healers.

    5. Discuss the use of psychoactive plants in traditional healing and ritual, using specific examples.

    Theoretical/Methodological Component

    6. Explain why classification of plants and perception of the plant environment varies cross¬-culturally.

    7. Describe methods used to obtain evidence of human-plant relationships from the

    archaeological record.

    Skills/Applied Component

    8. Learn the basics of field identification, collection and preservation of specimens.

    9. Review and apply ethnographic methods to collect and analyze ethnobotanical data in the field.

    10. Discuss the relevance of ethnobotany to public policy issues, such as environmental

    conservation and world hunger, and describe the ethical dilemmas faced by ethnobotanists.

    11. Learn how to present ethnobotanical findings in both written and oral form.

  31. Major Topics: ethnobotany

    human nutrition

    origins of agriculture

    fruits and seeds

    grasses and legumes

    plants and health

    algae and fungi

  32. Textbooks: Levitin & McMahon – Plants and Society (6th ed).

    Plant Identification Terminology: An Illustrated Glossary

  33. Course Readings, Online Resources, and Other Purchases: Elpel, Thomas. 2004. Botany in a Day. HOPS Press. Pony, MT.

    Pollan, Michael. 2001. The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World. Random House. New York, NY.

    Strongly Recommended Text:

    Balick, M. and P. A. Cox. 1996. Plants, People, and Culture: The Science of Ethnobotany. Scientific American Library, New York. (available only in Kindle Edition)

  34. Student Expectations/Requirements and Grading Policy: Grading, Attendance Policy and Academic Honesty

    Item Percent

    Tests 5@ 4% each 20

    Focus questions/discussion 10

    Attendance & participation 10

    Term Paper – Topic 5

    Term Paper – Bibliography 5

    Term Paper – Rough Draft 10

    Term Paper – Final Form 15

    Activity papers – 5 @5%. Each 25

    Total 100

    Grading scale:

    90% and above A

    80 – 89% B

    70 – 79% C

    60 – 69% D

    below 60% F

    I do not give plus or minus grades except for the A+.

    Attendance and Participation

    Because this class meets only once a week, regular attendance is a “must”. Likewise, substantive participation in the class also impacts your grade. Repeated absences, leaving early/arriving late and inattentive or disruptive behavior will lower your final grade.

    Please keep your cellphones, laptops, iPads and other devices stowed away from the tables and turn any ringers off.

    Please notify me by the second week of class if you will need to be absent for a religious observance during the semester. We will make arrangements to make up any missed work.

    Although we will be eating foods in the class related to academic activities, I discourage eating in this class. Bottled water or secured coffee cups are o.k. but smelly, 3-course meals that may make your fellow classmates queasy are not.

  35. Assignments, Exams and Tests: Term Paper

    Each student will write a 15-20 page term paper that examines the use(s) of a particular plant species or group of species. I recommend that you try to be as narrowly focused as possible, as these projects seem deceptively simple until you start delving into them.

    Some possible ideas for papers you may want to do might include:

    1. Investigation of a specific culturally significant plant - its natural history, where it is found, how abundant it is, how it was used by the local culture(s), and any potential uses the plant may have today.

    2. Aesthetic uses of plants (for example, flower garlands; plant perfumes; plants in the art of a particular culture; plants used in dance);

    3. “lost crops” – the study of one or more plants that were once widely used but have fallen out of use (why? Can they be introduced back into the diet?)

    4. Plants used in shamanism and other healing systems --- their symbolism, chemistry etc.

    5. The commodification of natural products – e.g. kava (Piper methysticum)

    6. Evidence for prehistoric uses of plants (paleoethnobotany)

    7. Plants used in construction (be specific – e.g. in canoes in the Pacific, for example)

    8. The overlap between food and medicine in one particular culture

    Note: I encourage you to write a paper that can help you explore a potential thesis topic or paper for publication (if applicable). However, if you collect ethnographic data with publication in mind, you must be in compliance with human subjects guidelines (i.e. have received IRB approval).

    To assist you in preparing your term paper, I have set the following deadlines:

    Choose plant species/topic - due by Feb 3 in class – typed (see guidelines in


    Bibliography (with narrative explanation) due 17 Feb.

    Rough draft of term paper (includes outline and literature to be cited) - due in class March 3

    Finished term paper - due March 31

    Activity Papers

    Five times during the term you will write an activity paper. In this paper I want you to use your practical and critical thinking skills to answer a question about material we have covered in the class. The typical paper will be a 2 page paper (typed, double-spaced) that answers the question. I will provide more details about these papers in a separate handout. These papers will be due in class on:

    1 – Jan. 13 Supermarket Ethnobotany

    2 – Jan 27 Parts is Parts

    3 – Feb 24 Know Your Joe.

    4 – Mar. 23 What makes this medicine work?

    5.—April 7 Sidewalk Ethnobotany

    Oral Presentation Skills

    As graduate students, you are expected to be prepared to lead/facilitate some in-class discussions as well as participate in class discussions based on the focus questions submitted by you and your fellow students. In addition, graduate students will prepare and give an additional in-class teaching presentation on an approved topic in order to develop your professional skills as an instructor

  36. Attendance Policy: Course Attendance at First Class Meeting – Policy for Graduate Students: For structured courses, 6000 and above, the College/Campus Dean will set the first-day class attendance requirement. Check with the College for specific information. This policy is not applicable to courses in the following categories: Educational Outreach, Open University (TV), FEEDS Program, Community Experiential Learning (CEL), Cooperative Education Training, and courses that do not have regularly scheduled meeting days/times (such as, directed reading/research or study, individual research, thesis, dissertation, internship, practica, etc.). Students are responsible for dropping undesired courses in these categories by the 5th day of classes to avoid fee liability and academic penalty. (See USF Regulation – Registration - 4.0101,

    Attendance Policy for the Observance of Religious Days by Students: In accordance with Sections 1006.53 and 1001.74(10)(g) Florida Statutes and Board of Governors Regulation 6C-6.0115, the University of South Florida (University/USF) has established the following policy regarding religious observances: (

    In the event of an emergency, it may be necessary for USF to suspend normal operations. During this time, USF may opt to continue delivery of instruction through methods that include but are not limited to: Blackboard, Elluminate, Skype, and email messaging and/or an alternate schedule. It’s the responsibility of the student to monitor Blackboard site for each class for course specific communication, and the main USF, College, and department websites, emails, and MoBull messages for important general information.

  37. Policy on Make-up Work: Policy on Make-Up Work

    All work should be submitted on or before the deadlines listed in the syllabus. Make up examinations or late submission of papers and other work is permitted ONLY after the student has provided documentation of: illness or death in the family; required attendance at a professional meeting or event; religious observance (note policy about religious holidays in “Attendance and Participation,” above).

  38. Program This Course Supports: MA in Environmental Science and Policy, BA in Anthropology, BA in Interdisciplinary Social Science
  39. Course Concurrence Information: Anthropology

    Interdisciplinary Social Science

- if you have questions about any of these fields, please contact or