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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Architecture and Landscape Architecture

Postgraduate Course: Topics in Environmental Humanities (ARCH11246)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe Environmental Humanities is an exciting area of research that demonstrates the importance of arts and humanities scholars engaging with environmental debates. It explores what kinds of contributions the arts and humanities can make to efforts to respond to key environmental issues. It challenges the fundamental concepts we use to understand the environment, while also taking better account of the ways that humans are always entangled in more-than-human worlds.

The aim of our course is to explore these two aspects of the environmental humanities by developing complex accounts of environmental problems and challenging the fundamental anthropocentrism of much of humanities thinking. Each year we will do this through a focus on a topic that is at the forefront of the area.
Course description Topics in Environmental Humanities will introduce you to a range of research areas within the field and connect them with contemporary environmental and social issues. These will be updated regularly and will be guided by the course organiser¿s current research focus.

Previously we have looked at ¿Untimely Environments¿; ¿Living in the Ruins¿; and ¿Whose Apocalypse?¿. Areas of study within environmental humanities that we cover can include work from critical animal studies, critical plant studies, extinction studies, discard studies, proposed alternatives to the Anthropocene, land based pedagogies and more.

We will accompany key readings from these areas with texts that open up humanities approaches to issues such as climate change, resource depletion, long-term pollutants, extinctions, food and water security, climate justice, and decolonisation.

Feel free to contact the course organiser ahead of the start of the course for specific information and reading suggestions if you would like more details for the upcoming year.

The course consists of weekly seminars of two hours¿ length. Each week we will discuss a set of key readings, in order to identify their central points, their strengths and weaknesses, and what they add to our understandings of the Environmental Humanities.

We will tie these readings to individually selected case studies that we will develop throughout the course. This will allow us to explore how the issues we cover arise in real-life situations. Each student will pick their own case study at the beginning of the course and will build up a portfolio of independent research that fleshes out how their case is related to the topics we cover. The portfolio will provide a step-by-step method for building up the case study and will help students to develop a wide-ranging interdisciplinary knowledge of environmental issues.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  20
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) This course is assessed by a portfolio that consists of 4 components.
- Annotated Bibliography (2000-2500 words), 15%, due in examination period
- Concept Map (50-100 nodes), 15%, due in examination period
- Creative non-fiction (800-1200 words), 20%, due in examination period
- Essay (2700-3300 words), 50%, due in examination period

Each component will be marked equally against all three learning outcomes, with each component of the portfolio worth the percentages indicated above.
Feedback Formative Feedback
In the second half of the semester you will have fortnightly opportunities to submit drafts on Learn of the assessment components for written formative feedback. This includes the annotated bibliography (Wk 5), concept map (Wk 7) and creative non-fiction (Wk 9), as well as an essay plan (Wk 11). The timing for the return of feedback will be as per University regulations.

Summative Feedback
You will receive written summative feedback in Learn for your final submissions. The timing for the return of feedback will be as per University regulations.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand the ways that theory can be used critically to identify the human implications of environmental issues. In particular you will demonstrate an understanding of the ways environment is theorised and how these theories contribute to key contemporary environmental issues.
  2. Apply theories and methods from multiple disciplines in order to understand complex issues that form the focus of environmental research.
  3. Develop effective and complex responses to environmental issues, demonstrating a critical approach and an ability to engage with cutting edge research.
Reading List
An indicative reading list for this course includes:
Despret, Vinciane, 2016. What would animals say if we asked the right questions?. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
Liboiron, Max, 2021. Pollution Is Colonialism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Rose, Deborah Bird, Thom van Dooren, and Matthew Chrulew, eds. 2017. Extinction Studies: Stories of time, death and generations. New York: Columbia University Press.
Rose, Deborah Bird, Thom van Dooren, Matthew Chrulew, Stuart Cooke, Matthew Kearnes, and Emily O'Gorman. 2012. Thinking through the environment, unsettling the humanities. Environmental Humanities 1 (1):1-5.
Shotwell, Alexis. 2016. Against Purity: Living ethically in compromised times. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills In this course, we will be learning to:
- deal with complex issues and make informed judgements in situations where it is not always possible to have complete or consistent information.
- apply critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis to issues that are informed by developments at the forefront of the area.
- develop a range of routine and specialised skills to communicate with peers, more senior colleagues and specialists
- exercise substantial autonomy and initiative in developing an approach to the materials
- respond to complex ethical issues that may not be addressed by the current professional and/or ethical codes or practices in our home disciplines.
Study Abroad None
Keywordsenvironment,theory,philosophy,cultural studies,science and technology studies
Course organiserDr Michelle Bastian
Tel: (0131 6)51 5779
Course secretaryMr Brendan Sweeney
Tel: (0131 6)50 6329
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