3 credits. This course is designed to provide a fundamental understanding of the social aspects involved in implementing conservation and sustainable development and conservation. Social science makes two contributions to the practice of conservation and development. First, it provides ways of thinking about, researching, and working with social groupings—including rural households and communities, but also development and conservation institutions, states, and NGOs. This aspect includes relations between groups at all these levels, and especially the role of politics and power in these relations. Second, social science tackles the analysis of the knowledge systems that implicitly shape conservation and development policy and impinge on practice. In other words, we analyze communities but also our own ideas of what communities are. The emphasis throughout is on how these things shape the practice of sustainable development and conservation. Case studies used in the course have been balanced as much as possible between Southeast Asia, South Asia, Africa, and Latin America; most are rural and Third World. The course includes readings from all noneconomic social sciences. The goal of the course is to stimulate students to apply informed and critical thinking (which means not criticizing others, but questioning our own underlying assumptions) to whatever roles they may come to play in sustainable development and conservation, in order to move toward more environmentally and socially sustainable projects and policies. The course is also designed to help students shape future research by learning to ask questions that build on, but are unanswered by, the social science theory of conservation and development.