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

Postgraduate Course: Understanding Environment and Development (PGGE11187)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course aims to introduce students to the relationships between the environment and international development. It takes a critical perspective when reflecting on mainstreamed approaches to sustainable development and draws on current theoretical debate in considering the contested, political and ideological nature of environment and development issues. It views society and nature as inherently linked and global capitalism as an underlying force. Issues of access, justice, distributions of costs and benefits, and (in)equalities are foregrounded in our considerations, as are the roles and responsibilities of a range of actors (state, international agencies, civil society and local communities).

The course aims not to teach students how to do environment/development work, but rather how to critically think about what it is that environment/development work does, for whom, and with what consequences. It therefore focuses on the contribution of academic theory, critique and debate to on-going practices in environment and development.
Course description The course is structured into three sections:

I. Foundations- in the first lectures we shall establish what it is we are dealing with, how we might go about understanding it, and "land" as a key resource;

II. Actors- we then go on to consider the roles and responsibilities of a range of actors involved in policies, programmes and projects of environment and development, as well as local communities;

III. Approaches- we move on to explore various approaches to environment and development including: participatory approaches to natural resource management, valuing nature, dealing with "natural" disasters and climate change, and energy and resource production and consumption. We finish by thinking through our own contributions in the field into the future.

Each week¿s lecture is divided into three sessions (each roughly 1 hour long, with breaks in between):

1.Lecture- introduces core theoretical and conceptual issues, and current academic debate.

2.Seminar- we will have a class-wide discussion based on a paper which must be read before class (except week 1 when we will watch a short film instead). The paper will relate to the lecture (session 1) topic but will allow students to bring in their own understanding and reflections around the topic and its wider significance. As the course will comprise a mix of students from different countries, academic backgrounds and past/on-going careers, this time for discussion will be really productive in sharing and co-creating ideas, reflections and learning.

3. Case-study/Practitioner- we will be joined by either a guest lecturer who will share findings from their own current research as a case-study of what we have covered in the lecture (session 1), or by a practitioner in the field of environment and development, who will share their knowledge, experience and reflections more generally on working "in-the-real-world".
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2016/17, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  51
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) Course assessment will involve two tasks:

1. Group presentation (40% of total course mark)

2. Individual essay (60% of the total course mark)

Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Learn to appreciate the interrelated and political nature of environment and development issues
  2. Learn of the current key academic theory and debate in relation to environment and development issues
  3. Learn to critically reflect upon current practices and approaches in environment and development
  4. Learn of the relationship between theory and practice and the contribution of academic debate
  5. Learn to build and convey sophisticated arguments drawing on complex evidence through writing and the spoken word
Reading List
A series of general texts are given below, which between them include key authors in the field and cover the range of issues and topics covered in the course.

Agnew, J. Mitchell, K. and Toal, G. (eds). 2008. A Companion to Political Geography. Blackwell: Oxford. (especially Part VI ¿Geographies of Environmental Politics¿).

Castree, N. and Braun, B. (eds.). 2001. Social Nature: Theory, Practice and Politics. John Wiley & Sons: Oxford.

Cox, K.R., Low, M. and Robinson, J. (eds.). 2008. Handbook of Political Geography. SAGE: Los Angeles. (especially Part III ¿Re-naturing Political Geography¿)

Cronon, W. (ed.). 1995. Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature. North & Company: New York.

Harvey, D. 1996. Justice, Nature and the Geography of Difference. Blackwell: Cambridge, MA.

Martinez-Alier, J. 2002. Environmentalism of the Poor. Edward Elgar: Cheltenham.

Ostrom, E. 1990. Governing the Commons. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.

Peet, R. and Watts, M.J. 2004. Liberation Ecologies: Environment, Development and Social Movements. 2nd edition. Routledge: London.

Peet, R., Robbins, P. and Watts, M.J. 2011. Global Political Ecology. Routledge: London.

Robbins, P. Hintz, J. and Moore, S.A. 2010. Environment and Society. Wiley-Blackwell.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserDr Samantha Staddon
Course secretaryMrs Paula Escobar
Tel: (0131 6)50 2543
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