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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Postgraduate Courses (School of GeoSciences)

Postgraduate Course: Political Ecology (GEGR11001)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe seeming intractability and growing urgency of current environmental crises have
prompted a number of critiques of mainstream environmentalism and sustainability. This course therefore explores the problems and limitations of mainstream thinking about the politics of nature. In particular, the course draws on the anti-capitalist theories of eco-Marxism and the post-natural philosophies of a number of influential Western thinkers. We use these concepts to work through a range of environmental problematics: wild nature; the urban green; biodiversity conservation; industrial food production; ecosystem services; geoengineering; apocalyptic imaginaries; Indigenous naturecultures. Sessions are split between lectures and more interactive activities. We will be asking questions such as: How can we understand the relationships between culture and nature? Where and how are material and imaginary natures made? How do questions of nature become questions of power and capital? Through the course you will develop your own conceptual and political position on the politics of nature.
Course description Week Date Topic

1 12/1/16 The Anthropocene and the End of Nature
2 19/1/16 Hybrid nature-cultures
3 26/1/16 Eco-Marxism and neoliberal natures
4 2/2/16 Chicken: Biosecurity and producing life
5 10/2/16 Neoliberal conservation
6 23/2/16 Carbon modernity and beyond
7 1/3/16 Geo-engineering and the end of Earth
8 8/3/16 Wild: Enchantment after nature
9 15/3/16 Urban green: Reconciliation ecology
10 22/3/16 Green politics Scotland
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2015/16, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  30
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 33, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 163 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) One book review (1000 words) 20%
One essay abstract/proposal (250 words) 10%
One degree essay (3000 words) 70%

Book review: 12 noon 18 February 2016
Degree essay abstract/proposal: 12 noon 10 March 2016
Degree essay: 12 noon 31 March 2016
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. critically understand the problems with mainstream environmentalism
  2. synthesise current theoretical debates and bring them into critical dialogue with real-world examples
  3. understand how nature is produced in different settings and contexts
  4. develop their own voice and way of thinking about the politics of environmentalism
Reading List
Bennett, J. (2010). Vibrant Matter: a political ecology of things. Durham: Duke University Press.

Castree, N. (2013). Making sense of Nature. London: Routledge.

Haraway, D. J. (2008). When species meet. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

Hinchliffe, S. (2007). Geographies of nature: societies, environments, ecologies. London: Sage

Latour, B. (2004). Politics of nature: how to bring the sciences into democracy. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.

Mitchell, T. (2011). Carbon democracy: political power in the age of oil. London & New York: Verso.

Newell, P. and Paterso M. (2010) Climate capitalism: Global warming and the transformation of the global economy. New York

Peet, R., Robbins, P., & Watts, M. eds. (2011). Global Political Ecology. London & New York: Routledge.

Plumwood, V. (2002). Environmental culture: the ecological crisis of reason. London: Routledge.

Smith, M. (2011). Against Ecological Sovereignty: Ethics, Biopolitics, and Saving the Natural World. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsGEGR11001,Nature,environmentalism,eco-Marxism,relational,climate change,capitalism
Course organiserDr Calum Macleod
Tel: (0131 6)51 4447
Course secretaryMrs Karolina Galera
Tel: (0131 6)50 2572
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