Global Extractivisms and Alternatives

The main framing component of the course is the analysis of extractivism(s) and the implications for prospects and development of actionable and sustainable alternatives. The course will examine the different social and global contexts in which extractivisms are rooted and deployed. Students will leave this course with an operationalizable understanding of what constitutes an extractivist mindset and being able to identify extractivist underpinnings in development projects and practices.

5 ECTS Credits — Studies start 18 January 2023 — University of Helsinki

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Photo credit: Greg Duprat, 2018, on Unsplash
Photo credit: Greg Duprat, 2018, on Unsplash

Course dates

18 January 2023 – 22 February 2023

Registration period

31 October 2022 – 4 January 2023

Coordinating university

University of Helsinki

Instructors

Barry Gills
Sophia Hagolani-Albov
Christopher Chagnon
Janne Salovaara

Credits

5 ECTS

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Course dates: 18.01.2023 - 22.2.2023
Registration dates: 31.10.2022 - 4.1.2023
Coordinating university: University of Helsinki
Responsible teacher: Barry Gills ()
Course coordinators: Christopher Chagnon, Sophia Hagolani-Albov, Janne Salovaara
Guest's for Deep Dives: Jason Moore (Binghamton University), Alexander Dunlap (University of Oslo), Maria Ehrnström-Fuentes (Hanken Business School), Markus Kröger (University of Helsinki), more others!
Credits: 5 ECTS
Course offered: 2/3

Course summary

The main framing component of the course is the analysis of extractivism(s) and the implications for prospects and development of actionable and sustainable alternatives. During the course, we will explore different relevant philosophical views, as well as lived experiences derived from case study examples, in order to further explore the current plurality of uses of the concept and the variety of its forms and real-world manifestations. The course will examine the different social and global contexts in which extractivisms are rooted and deployed. Students will leave this course with an operationalizable understanding of what constitutes an extractivist mindset and being able to identify extrativist underpinnings in development projects and practices. They will be able to connect the lived experiences of extractivisims to academic analyses and debates on extractivisms and alternatives to extractivisms.

Expectation

Students MUST attend the weekly discussion sessions, complete all assignments, and participate in the groupwork to pass the course. In practice, each week students are expected to do four things:

  1. Watch the recorded lecture prior to the discussion session
  2. Complete the weekly reading(s)
  3. Submit their short reflection assignment (max. 500 words)
  4. Participate in the real time discussion session on Zoom


Learning outcomes

After completion of the course engaged students should be able to:

  • Understand the plurality of extractivisms, and its utility as an organizing concept. In addition, they will understand how to identify the interconnectedness of extractivisms and capitalism.
  • Identify the potential different worldviews which might construct the extractivist paradigm and mentalities and the effects on development decision and practices.
  • Contextualise different philosophical dimension of extractivisms.
  • Analyze and evaluate the epistemological, ontological, and methodological utilisations of extractivisms in relation to their own thinking and research.
  • Design research that employs the different philosophical dimensions of extractivisms, while being reflective, critical, and democratic in their sense, science, and impact-making processes.

Learning methods

There will be a mix of different approaches to engaging with the material over the duration of the course:

  1. Self-directed learning and weekly writing assignments.
  2. Asynchronous lectures given by the course coordinators, featuring expert guests to do "deep dives" on the different scientific, philosophical, and historical applications, global positions, and facets of extractivisms and alternatives. For example, Jason Moore will be giving us insights in what is meant by "cheap nature" while Alexander Dunlap will go into the false promises and implications of green energy.
  3. Discussion sessions: group discussions and activities aimed at uncovering one's own scientific worldviews and understanding of the interplay between extractivisms and development.
  4. Critical reflections: structured critical reflection for situating the philosophical aspects of extractivisms in social, global, historical contexts.
  5. Academic collaboration: post-course assignment will be a case-study executed in interdisciplinary groups.

We will also engage in various types of group work and activities throughout the course, up to and including the post course assignment. The products of the group work are important, but so is the process. We aim to develop a group rapport which supports a safe space where academic ideas can be laid out raw and practiced without fear.

Study materials

The course will utilize a collection of academic articles and book chapters, and podcasts/recorded lectures that trace the origins, evolution, and the state of the art of the concept of extractivism. All the study materials will be available on Moodle and there will be focus on utilizing open access resources and resources authored by scholars from the Global South.

Assessment

Weekly assignments (500 words) and active participation - 30%
Individual assignment essay (2000 words) - 20%
Group project (max. 3000 words) - 50%

Students will be given a grading rubric for each written assignment, so the assessment criteria are transparent and accessible. Generally, when making assessments of the students work the learning objectives will be considered, as well as the demonstrated analysis and application of the key aspects of the course. Students will be invited to make a final reflection that will include self-assessment. The final grade will be calculated on a scale of 1-5 and will consider the points raised in the students' self-assessment.

Course schedule

The course will include six discussion sessions that are held on Wednesdays from 15-17 (18.1., 25.1., 1.2., 8.2., 15.2., 22.2.).

Additional information

Maximum number of students: 20

The course is targeted for Master's level students, although motivated under- and postgraduate students are welcomed to apply. Knowledge of development theories, political ecology, and world politics is beneficial.

The course will also draw on the input and expertise of the members of the Global Extractivisms and Alternatives Initiative (EXALT), which was founded by members of the Global Development Studies Program at the University of Helsinki (www.exalt.fi).

Virtual Studies Course Catalogue