Convenor to be confirmed
Unit Value: 0.5unit Year 3 Term 2
Brief Course Description
This course introduces work in contemporary geography and related disciplines, which are seeking to understand the emerging and entangled relationships between human agencies, ecological processes and spatial practices. It takes as its starting point recent assertions of the importance of the post-natural and/or post-human in contemporary human geography, social theory and political practice. These concepts are applied to a range of case studies to develop ways of critically interpreting the interlinked ecological and political issues of nature conservation, animal domestication and food production, biosecurity and human health.
The module has three aims:
- To introduce a range of contemporary theoretical approaches, which are seeking to understand the entangled relationships between human agencies, ecological processes, spatial and political practices.
- To apply these conceptual approaches to understanding case studies in nature conservation, animal domestication and food production, biosecurity and health, both globally and in geographical context.
- To encourage students to develop both conceptual understanding and empirical application through directly-taught course material and individual original coursework research.
The course is divided into the following four sections:
- Introducing Concepts: Anthropocene assemblages and interspecies identities. This section introduces the context to and a critical evaluative approach towards key concepts including: Anthropocene, assemblage, post human, post natural, temporality, spatiality, hybrid geographies and more-than-human geographies.
- Assembling Natures: Emerging ecologies and experimental conservation. Climate change, urbanisation and practices such as ecological restoration mean political questions around nature conservation are shifting from how to preserve wild nature to how to assemble appropriate natures. Here, we explore some of these practices, focusing on climate change, sub/urban ecologies and rewilding experiments.
- Domesticating Practices: Animal geographies and corporeal connections. Animal bodies and agencies are central to many contemporary environmental and risk questions, including food security and biosecurity, whilst linking global economies to individual bodies. Here, we explore the political and ethical challenges raised by questions of animal domestication from the global to the bodily scale.
- Evolving Relations: Living with more-than-humans others. Finally, focusing on the ecological and evolutionary dimensions to human identity and health, we contextualise the other agencies – with case studies from genetically modified animals, medical enhancement, to malarial parasites – which are vital for assembling human health and thinking about what it means to live in a post human or post natural world.
Method of Teaching
The course is taught through weekly 2-hour lectures, with supported by online resources. There is required reading or seminar preparation for each 2-hour slot, with the first hour focusing on content delivery and the second hour using different methods to enhance student interaction and develop skills in discussion/application.
Form of Assessment
50% 2,500 word course paper, focusing on developing, understanding and evaluating key concepts
50% Unseen examination (2 questions from 6) focusing on applying ideas to interpret case studies
Pre-requisites and Relationship with other courses
A commitment to reading, participating in class and critical thinking is essential for this course. Students will find it an advantage to have taken GEOG2009 Environment and Society.
The following introductory articles and chapters give a sense of the themes we will explore:
Braun, B. (2006) Environmental issues: global natures in the space of assemblage Progress in Human Geography 30, 5 (2006) pp. 644–654
Lorimer, J (2012) Multinatural geographies for the Anthropocene Progress in Human Geography Published online, doi: 10.1177/0309132511435352
Robbins, P and Marks, B (2010) Assemblage Geographies, In Smith et al (eds) The Sage Handbook of Social Geographies p.176-194
There is no set text for this course, but the following books are indicative of both topics and approach:
Haraway, D. (2007) When species meet University of Minnesota Press
Mullin, M. and Cassidy, R. (2007) Where the Wild Things Are Now: Domestication Reconsidered Berg.
Peet, R., Robbins, P., and Watts, M. (2011) Global Political Ecology Routledge
Robbins, P. (2007) Lawn People: How grasses, weeds, and chemicals make us who we are Temple University Press
Whatmore, S. (2002) Hybrid Geographies: natures cultures spaces Sage