University of Sussex Business School

Political Ecology and Environmental Just (013IDS)

Political Ecology and Environmental Justice

Module 013IDS

Module details for 2022/23.

30 credits

FHEQ Level 6

Module Outline

Who controls food production? Should we all be vegan? What are the consequences of decarbonizing energy production and transportation? How does carbon offsetting work? What is extractivism? How are indigenous groups mobilising against environmental violence, pollution, infrastructure developments and resource extraction? In this module, we engage with these and other environmental justice concerns through the lens of political ecology. Political ecology is a broad set of theoretical and methodological approaches (incorporating feminist political ecologies, urban political ecologies and decolonial political ecologies) that helps us to understand the relationship between environmental change and social (in)justice. In the first section of the course we will explore the origins of political ecology in currents of human geography, anthropology and ecological Marxism, examine the emergence of critical challenges from feminist and decolonial political ecologists, and explore the relationship between political ecology and other disciplines such as science & technology studies. The second section of the course will provide you with the methodological and practical training required for your assignments. The third section of the course will consist of a series of case studies drawing on current issues of political ecological concern (for example, meat consumption, Green New Deals, lithium mining). Your assessments for this course will encourage you to approach political ecology as a ‘public facing’ discipline that engages with social movements: in Week 9 you will submit a short group-produced podcast highlighting an environmental justice concern, drawing on your emerging understanding of political ecology analysis. These could be global or local in scope (for example, fracking, environmental racism and air pollution, carbon offsetting, pipeline developments on indigenous territories). The final assessment will be a long-form blog submission designed to enhance public understanding of a contemporary environmental justice concern.

Full Module Description

Who controls food production? Should we all be vegan? What are the consequences of decarbonizing energy production and transportation? How does carbon offsetting work? What is extractivism? How are indigenous groups mobilising against environmental violence, pollution, infrastructure developments and resource extraction? In this module, we engage with these and other environmental justice concerns through the lens of political ecology. Political ecology is a broad set of theoretical and methodological approaches (incorporating feminist political ecologies, urban political ecologies and decolonial political ecologies) that helps us to understand the relationship between environmental change and social (in)justice. In the first section of the course we will explore the origins of political ecology in currents of human geography, anthropology and ecological Marxism, examine the emergence of critical challenges from feminist and decolonial political ecologists, and explore the relationship between political ecology and other disciplines such as science & technology studies. The second section of the course will provide you with the methodological and practical training required for your assignments. The third section of the course will consist of a series of case studies drawing on current issues of political ecological concern (for example, meat consumption, Green New Deals, lithium mining). Your assessments for this course will encourage you to approach political ecology as a ‘public facing’ discipline that engages with social movements: in Week 9 you will submit a short group-produced podcast highlighting an environmental justice concern, drawing on your emerging understanding of political ecology analysis. These could be global or local in scope (for example, fracking, environmental racism and air pollution, carbon offsetting, pipeline developments on indigenous territories). The final assessment will be a long-form blog submission designed to enhance public understanding of a contemporary environmental justice concern.

Module learning outcomes

Demonstrate a systematic knowledge and understanding of key theoretical perspectives on political ecology and environmental justice

Critically reflect on the ideas, theories and assumptions underpinning contemporary policies and movements for addressing environmental (in)justice

Critically analyse cases of environmental (in)justice in a range of geographical contexts, drawing on approaches from political ecology

Independently identify and explore appropriate case studies, and communicate environmental (in)justice concerns to a public audience

Critically apply knowledge of political ecology analysis to make judgements and recommendations in relation to contemporary case studies of environmental (in)justice

TypeTimingWeighting
Essay (3000 words)Semester 2 Assessment Week 1 Mon 16:0080.00%
Coursework20.00%
Coursework components. Weighted as shown below.
Group PresentationT2 Week 9 (10 minutes)100.00%
Timing

Submission deadlines may vary for different types of assignment/groups of students.

Weighting

Coursework components (if listed) total 100% of the overall coursework weighting value.

TermMethodDurationWeek pattern
Spring SemesterSeminar3 hours11111111111

How to read the week pattern

The numbers indicate the weeks of the term and how many events take place each week.

Prof Anne-Meike Fechter

Assess convenor
https://www.sussex.ac.uk/profiles/158737

Dr Paul Gilbert

Convenor
https://www.sussex.ac.uk/profiles/275733

Dr Elizabeth Mills

Assess convenor
https://www.sussex.ac.uk/profiles/226593

Dr William Lock

Convenor
https://www.sussex.ac.uk/profiles/174669

Dr Anna Laing

Convenor
https://www.sussex.ac.uk/profiles/397849

Mr Ben Facer

Assess convenor
https://www.sussex.ac.uk/profiles/491333

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