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

Postgraduate Course: Social Movements and the Environment (PGGE11276)

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
SummaryThis course will provide students with a deep understanding of humans¿ engagement with the environment in the context of grassroots activism in the global North and global South. Students will obtain skills in critical thinking, application of concepts, writing, presenting, and working collectively in groups.
Course description This course is designed for students who are interested in learning about different forms of environmental activism across places and cultures, how this activism manifests, and how it reflects a diversity of relationships between humans and the non-human world. From Ecuador and Peru, to the United Kingdom and New Zealand, this course explores the cultural politics of grassroots activism around topics such as the climate emergency, the extraction of natural resources, and rights-based frameworks for the environment. Core Teaching on the course is divided into two segments. The first segment (weeks 1-6) is dedicated to learning relevant concepts and debates around social movements and the environment, where each week we apply a particular concept to a real-world case study. Concepts taught throughout this segment include Counter-Hegemony, Cultural Politics, Post-Materialism, The Environmentalism of the Poor, and Social Movements and Scale. The second segment (weeks 7-9) is dedicated to conducting a small-group research project on an environmental social movement of the group¿s choice. This will culminate in a group presentation to be delivered to the rest of the class in week 11. The outline of the course is as follows: (1) Social Movements and Power: an introduction (2) Cultural Politics of Environmental Social Movements (3) Social Movements and the Environment in the Global North (4) Social Movements and the Environment in the Global South (5) Transnational Social Movements and the Environment (6) Is There a Global Environmental Movement? (7) Group Research Project (8) Group Research Project (9) Group Research Project (10) Essay Q&A (11) Group Research Project Presentations
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
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Be able to apply a range of critical concepts to practical situations relating to humans¿ relationship with the environment
  2. Have acquired and/or enhanced transferable skills in teamwork, report writing, and oral presentation
  3. Understand the different historical, social, cultural and political underpinnings of social movements' engagement with the environment
Reading List
Key texts for the course include the following: Martinez-Alier, J., 2002. The environmentalism of the poor: a study of ecological conflicts and valuation. Edward Elgar // Guha, R., Alier, J.M., 2013. Varieties of Environmentalism: Essays North and South. Routledge. // Lewis, T.L., 2016. Ecuador¿s Environmental Revolutions: Ecoimperialists, Ecodependents, and Ecoresisters. The MIT Press. // Braun, B., Castree, N., 2005. Remaking Reality: Nature at the Millennium. Routledge. // Peet, R., Watts, M., 2002. Liberation ecologies: environment, development and social movements. Routledge. // Ekers, M., Hart, G., Kipfer, S., Loftus, A., 2012. Gramsci: Space, Nature, Politics. John Wiley & Sons. // Williams, G., Mawdsley, E., 2006. Postcolonial environmental justice: Government and governance in India. Geoforum 37, 660¿670. // Doherty, B., Doyle, T., 2006. Beyond borders: Transnational politics, social movements and modern environmentalisms. Environmental Politics 15, 697¿712. // Espinosa, C., 2014. The Advocacy of the Previously Inconceivable: A Discourse Analysis of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth at Rio+20. The Journal of Environment & Development 23, 391¿416. // Espinosa, C., 2017. Bringing about the global movement for the rights of nature: sites and practices for intelligibility. Global Networks // Alvarez, S.E., Dagnino, E., Escobar, A., 1998. Cultures of politics, politics of cultures: re-visioning Latin American social movements. Westview Press.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will strengthen outlook and engagement by gaining a better understanding of the world around them in the context of the environment and particular human behaviours around its protection. They will also strengthen their enquiry and lifelong learning due to the topical nature, immediacy, and future-thinking context of humans¿ relationship with the environment, climate change and environmental sustainability. Through conducting a small-group research project, students will also strengthen their research and enquiry skills, as well as their personal and intellectual autonomy skills. This project will also build on their skills in teamwork and project management. Students¿ skills in communication will also be greatly enhanced through group work and oral presentation. Through the oral presentation, students will also obtain report writing and delivery skills. Throughout the course, students will also develop their skills in the application of theory to the real world, and enhance their critical thinking skills
KeywordsSocial movements,environment,cultural politics,environmentalism,activism,human geography
Course organiserDr Stefan Rzedzian
Course secretaryMrs Lynn Taylor
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