Picture of Alexander Ervin

Alexander Ervin B.A., M.A., Ph.D.


Anthropology professor emeritus

Archaeology 224

Research Area(s)

  • Climate change
  • Financial collapse of global capitalism
  • Energy crises surrounding hydrocarbon fuels
  • Localization
  • Globalization


Selected Publications (since the mid-1990s)

Ervin, Alexander M.

2015   Cultural Transformations and Globalization: Theory, Development, and Social Change. New York, NY: Routledge.

2012   A Green Coalition Versus Big Uranium: Rhizomal Networks of Advocacy and Environmental Action. Capitalism, Nature, Socialism, Vol. 23(3): 52-70.

2012   The Vulnerabilities of Native People in the Mackenzie and Athabasca Drainage Systems: Tar Sands, Gas, and Uranium. In Water, Cultural Diversity, and Global Environmental Change: Emerging Trends, Sustainable Futures? Pp. 277-291. Edited By Barbara Rose Johnston et. al. Dordrecht, ND: UNESCO and Springer Publishing.

Ervin, Alexander M. and Lorne Holyoake

2006   Applied Anthropology in Canada: Historical Foundations, Contemporary Practice and Policy Potentials. In The Globalization of Anthropology. Edited by Carole Hill and Marietta Baba. Pp. 134-156. Washington, DC: NAPA Bulletin Number 25.

Ervin, Alexander M.

2005   Applied Anthropology: Tools and Perspectives for Contemporary Practice 2nd Edition, Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Ervin, Alexander, Cathy Holtzlander, Darrin Qualman and Rick Sawa (Eds.)

2003   Corporate Hog Barns and the Threat to Public Health, the Environment, and Rural Communities. Ottawa: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Ervin, Alexander M.

2001   Canadian Perspectives in Cultural Anthropology. Toronto: Nelson/Thomson Learning.

2001   Anthropological Visions and Mainstream Practice. Practicing Anthropology, Vol. 23(1): 52-55.

2000   Applied Anthropology: Tools and Perspectives for Contemporary Practice, Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

1997   Anthropological Practice in Anglophone Canada: Multiculturalism, Indigenous Rights, and Mainstream Policy Potential. In The Global Practice of Anthropology. Edited by Marietta Baba and Carole Hill, Pp. 47-81. Williamsburg, VA: College of William and Mary.

1997   Immigrant Resettlement at the Local level: A Policy Critique in the Canadian Context. In The Annals of the International Institute of Sociology. Proceedings of the 32nd Congress.” Migrations Between Center and Periphery.” Edited by Alberto Gasparini. Pp. 25-47. Trieste, IT: Universita degli Studi di Trieste.

1997   Trying the Impossible: Relatively Rapid Methods in a Citywide Needs Assessment. Human Organization, Vol. 56 (4): 379-388.

1996   Collaborative and Participatory Research in Urban Social Planning and Restructuring: Anthropological Experiences from a Medium-Sized Canadian City. Human Organization, Vol. 55(3): 324-334

1996   Social Planning Councils, Social Indicators, and Child Well-Being. Practicing Anthropology, Vol. 18(4): 21-25.

Teaching & Supervision

Research and Teaching Specialties

Applied anthropology, policy analysis, applied methodologies, political ecology, social movements, cultural change and globalization, the anthropology of energy, sustainability and futures studies, Western Canada and the Western Canadian and Alaskan Arctic and sub-Arctic.


applied anthropology cultural change globalization political ecology social movements


My earliest research was relevant to indigenous issues of development, land claims, and “settlementization” in the Western Canadian Arctic and Sub-Arctic as well as Alaska. After that I have concentrated on localized research here in Saskatchewan. These included studies and engaged advocacy campaigns about changing farming and rural community adaptations, the impacts of confined animal factory operations (hog barns), GMOS, and the complicated transformations being brought about by the nuclear and uranium industries. It also included issues of the integration and adaptation of government sponsored refugees and needs assessment projects for a variety of urban human service agencies in Saskatoon. These projects overlapped in engagement with local policy research and making institutions. It has involved participation and engagement in social movements dedicated to either resisting or bringing about changes such as with Green Energy Project–Saskatchewan that promotes the social, ecological, and economic advantages of renewable energy. The contributions of anthropology as being “mainstreamed,” engaged, and applied locally have been my obsession. My latest research and intellectual domain of exploration has been to imagine future scenarios of human adaptation given three likely challenges facing humans—climate change, the financial collapse of global capitalism, and energy crises surrounding hydrocarbon fuels. Among other directions I have been exploring are the implications of “localization” as opposed to globalization and community-based “reclaiming of the commons” as alternative means of managing property and resources.