Contemporary Environmental Conflicts (dates to be confirmed)

The course examines contemporary environmental conflicts in the Global South. It familiarizes students with struggles over the environment by examining them in people’s every day lives within specific socio-environmental contexts, and on global arenas of political institutions.

5 ECTS Credits — Studies start 30 January 2021 — University of Helsinki

Photo credit: Lenny K Photography, 2016 on Flickr
Photo credit: Lenny K Photography, 2016 on Flickr

Course dates

30 January 2021 – 30 January 2021

Registration period

30 January 2021 – 30 January 2021

Coordinating university

University of Helsinki

Coordinators

Liina-Maija Quist

Credits

5 ECTS

Course dates: Spring 2021, dates to be confirmed
Registration dates: Spring 2021, dates to be confirmed
Coordinating university: University of Helsinki
Responsible teacher: Liina-Maija Quist,
Credits: 5 ECTS

Course summary

The course examines contemporary environmental conflicts in the Global South. It familiarizes students with struggles over the environment by examining them in people’s every day lives within specific socio-environmental contexts, and on global arenas of political institutions. The course is structured around three themes which are examined as broad areas of dispute: 1) climate, 2) land and water, and 3) the body. Each of the themes involves the study of everyday socio-cultural and political aspects of current environmental disputes, their connections with humans’ diverse understandings about and relations with their environments, and questions of access to the environment, to livelihoods, and to health. The course also looks at attempts at negotiation and resolution of disputes, which involve diverse peoples, states, companies, and international institutions, and take place on both local and global scales.

The course aims at familiarizing the student with an approach to conflicts about the environment which views them as always both socio-cultural and environmental. It further
aims at providing the student with grounds for analyzing their cultural and material diversity and identifying major causes, central actors, and their embeddedness within wider political and economic relations.

Learning outcomes

Having completed the course the student will have gained knowledge and understanding of both everyday phenomenological and institutional political aspects of current
environmental struggles in the Global South. They will be able to identify major trends and actors in conflicts, identify interrelatedness of different conflicts and provide explanations for their character. They will also be able to identify potential future environmental conflicts.

Learning methods

The learning methods consist of both collaborative and autonomous studying. The students will listen to online lectures, watch documentaries, read scientific and media
articles about current environmental struggles, take part in online group discussions and group work and write a final essay by drawing on the materials they have studied. The course will use Moodle and Flinga as virtual learning environments.

Study materials

The study materials are structured around the three themes of the course: climate, land/water, and the body. The materials consist of four virtual lectures, which are made up
of one introduction lecture and one lecture on each theme, three video documentaries, nine investigative media articles and nine scientific articles. Readings will be available on Moodle.

Assessment

Scale 1-5. Group work participation (1/3 of grade) and final essay (2/3 of grade).

Students will be given group feedback, i.e. general feedback addressed to the entire group for each group discussion, and for the final essay.

Additional information

Students are expected to have completed their Bachelor studies and to have basic skills for the critical reading of social scientific articles, employing concepts for analyzing the society, and writing essays. The course may be taken without prior studies in development.

Virtual Studies Course Catalogue