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DEGREE REGULATIONS & PROGRAMMES OF STUDY 2017/2018

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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Geography

Undergraduate Course: Political Ecology (GEGR10101)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryHow can we understand the relationships between culture, nature and capital? How do questions of nature become questions of power? Where and how is the material of nature made? The multiple scales and seeming intractability of current environmental crises has prompted a number of critiques of mainstream environmentalism and sustainability. The first weeks of the course are devoted to exploring the theories of political ecology, eco-Marxism and relational natureculture. These ideas are then worked through to understand a range of environmental problems: common property resources, biodiversity conservation, multinational food production, climate change politics, bioengineering, and a topic to be determined by the class. Class sessions are split between traditional lectures and hands-on activities. The course will also encourage students to reflect on their own position and develop their own ways of thinking about the politics of the environment.

Indicative course content:
1. Introduction: Political ecology
2. Theory: Relational natures and eco-Marxism
3. Fence: conservation and the end of nature
4. Fish: enclosing the global commons
5. Chicken: biosecurity and externalising H5N1
6. City: urban metabolism and the circulation of life
7. Atmosphere: geo-engineering and the post-politics of climate change
8. Student┐s choice: the class selects a topic for the session
9. Apocalypse! Geographies of the end of the world
10. Conclusion

Course description How can we understand the relationships between culture, nature and capital? How do questions of nature become questions of power? Where and how is the material of nature made? The multiple scales and seeming intractability of current environmental crises has prompted a number of critiques of mainstream environmentalism and sustainability. The first weeks of the course are devoted to exploring the theories of political ecology, eco-Marxism and relational natureculture. These ideas are then worked through to understand a range of environmental problems: common property resources, biodiversity conservation, multinational food production, climate change politics, bioengineering, and a topic to be determined by the class. Class sessions are split between traditional lectures and hands-on activities. The course will also encourage students to reflect on their own position and develop their own ways of thinking about the politics of the environment.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesNone
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
1. Critical understanding of the problems with mainstream environmentalism.
2. Synthesize current theoretical debates and bring them into critical dialogue with real-world examples.
3. Explain how environmental problems are produced through capitalism and intersect with social justice, including gender, race, class.
4. Enable students to develop their own voice and way of thinking about the politics of environmentalism.
Reading List
There is no set text book, but the following will be useful.
Castree N (2004) Nature, Routledge, London
Castree N (2013) Making sense of nature, Routledge
Castree N and B Braun eds (2001) Social Nature: Theory, Practice and Politics, Oxford: Blackwell.
Hinchliffe (2007) Geographies of Nature, Sage, London
Peet, Robbins & Watts (2011) Global Political Ecology, Routledge, London & New York
Smith M (2011) Against green sovereignty, Minnesota
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsGEGR10101, Nature, environmentalism, eco-Marxism, relational, climate change
Contacts
Course organiserDr William Ginn
Tel:
Email: wginn@exseed.ed.ac.uk
Course secretaryMs Beth Muir
Tel: (0131 6)51 1513
Email: beth.muir@ed.ac.uk
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