Skip to main content

Humans and the Environment


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 4
  • Convenor: Kezia Barker
  • Assessment: a 2000-word individual essay (60%) and group project report (40%)

Module description

This module will introduce you to core issues related to the management of the environment, addressing questions about how we should govern, how we should live, how we should decide what to do, and whose responsibility it is anyway. This will include core concepts of sustainability, risk, scientific authority, justice and citizenship.

We will explore these issues with reference to a range of case studies related to specific environmental concerns, including climate change, wilderness areas, food risks, environmental contamination, and your own impact on the environment.

This is also a course in ideas about nature and the environment, as much as it considers actual policy, scientific and public practices related to environmental issues. These ideas include popular and widely held understandings of nature 'out there', but also changing and competing ideas about nature within academia. This module offers you the opportunity to become skilled in interpreting the complexity behind the use of the term 'nature' and 'natural' and how it is mobilised for political and scientific ends.

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will have:

  • been introduced to key academic approaches and debates in the study of environmental policy and politics
  • considered key issues of concern in the interaction of humans and the environment
  • been introduced to the institutional and policy-making context for environmental issues nationally and internationally
  • considered the contested understandings of 'nature' and the 'environment' and the significance of this for environmental politics.