GEO384 Critical Ecologies

Critical Ecologies

Level 3
Credits 20
Availability Approved for BSc/MGeogSci Geography; BA Geography; BSc/MEnvSci Environmental Science; BA Geography & Planning
Semester Spring

This module explores the critical, contested and controversial debates about environmental and ecological issues. Using a range of examples of research undertaken by staff in the department from the Global North and Global South this module develops a critical geographical approach to understanding environmental controversies. Examples will be drawn from a range of issues including agriculture, water, energy, food, climate change and housing.


• To familiarise students with key critical geographical approaches to interrogating environmental and ecological issues.
• To illustrate how these approaches can be applied to a variety of case studies and examples.
• To enable understanding of the different ways in which society-environment issues are always complex, geographical, political and social.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module, a student will be able to demonstrate:
• The ability to articulate why environmental and ecological issues are complex social processes.
• The knowledge and skill to interrogate and unpack how environmental and ecological issues are constructed.
• The ability to apply these approaches in identifying potential solutions and ways forward to contemporary environmental challenges.

Outline Contents

The lectures will explore the following as themes through which to understand human-environment relations:

• Political ecology
• Value
• Social practices
• Emotions
• Activism
• Comfort

Delivery Methods Lectures (28hrs); Seminars (2hrs); Field Work (8hrs)
Learning Hours Scheduled: 38hrs; Independent: 160hrs
Assessment 2hr Exam (66%); 1,500-word Fieldwork Report (34%)
Feedback Verbal feedback will be given during field work. Written feedback will be given on the report. Students can also receive feedback on performance in exams by arranging a meeting with their Personal Tutor at the start of the following Semester. Students are encouraged to seek feedback at every opportunity.
Module Leader Professor Jenny Pickerill