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This subject aims to think critically and rigorously about the relationship between social and natural worlds. Its primary purpose is to question the idea that the environment exists outside of, and independent from, the realms of science, culture, politics and economy. Students will be introduced to different conceptual frameworks for understanding the environment as a social entity; to the processes by which capitalism and science structures social and environmental relations; and to alternative modes of living in, and thinking about, the environment. These broad themes will be addressed through engaging examples from Australia and beyond. Particular attention will be given to the concept of 'wilderness'; the postcolonial nature of the zoo; ecotourism; the politics of visualising nature (e.g. through wildlife documentary); the 'new natures' of genetic modification; and ideas about 'environmental justice' and ‘climate crisis’.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of the subject students should be able to:
- Compare a range of concepts and theories about how society and nature relate
- Summarise, explain, and illustrate different ways 'nature' is understood and mobilised in environmental debates
- Apply knowledge to analyse field observations and develop an argument about society-nature relations in a case study
- Demonstrate the ability to construct critical and coherent verbal and written arguments
be capable of critical reading;
be capable of thinking, writing and speaking in theoretical terms;
develop presentation skills;
develop skills in written communication;
be capable of approaching research problems in the field.
Last updated: 22 November 2023