GEOGY520-21B (HAM)

Human Dimensions of Environmental Change

30 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
School of Social Sciences


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Paper Description

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This paper examines the increasing risks imposed on human communities by global environmental change such as global warming and the occurrence of severe natural events. The paper establishes a platform for the critical analysis of these processes by introducing students to important theoretical developments including the role of culture-nature dualisms in geography, theories on population-environment relationships, political ecology, and natural resource and environmental economics. The paper provides opportunities to build up a knowledge base that is aligned to individual areas of interest.

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Paper Structure

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The paper interrogates various dimensions of environmental change through lenses provided by theories that have been developed in the context of environmental problems. These different conceptualisations tend to diagnose different root causes of problems of environmental change, rely on different narrative interpretations of change, and ultimately prescribe different solutions. The course will make use of these different lenses for analysis of a range of thematic environmental change challenges and, in so doing, will illuminate both theoretical and applied implications of these approaches.

The paper is delivered through a series of face-to-face lectures (Thursday) and Zoom-based tutorial sessions, both of which will be recorded. The format for classes will typically consist of a lecture on a topic and class discussions of examples. There are assigned readings for each week and, as this is a graduate level course, students are expected to have worked through these prior to class. These readings provide students with a set of 'starting materials'; as individual topics are developed, students will develop their own individualised materials. Students are encouraged to bring their own course-related material to class, be that video clips, news links, reading material and web sources.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the paper should be able to:

  • understand of contemporary environmental problems at the local and global scales with a special concern for their human dimensions.
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • understand the conceptual underpinnings of approaches to contemporary environmental issues.
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  • understand the complexity of issues that emerge when society-environment relationships are examined.
    Linked to the following assessments:
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The internal work : examination ratio for this paper is 100 : 0.

Details on the internal assessment items are located on the Moodle course support site.

Assignments are to be uploaded through Turnitin via the Moodle site for this paper.

Submission of assignments to Turnitin plagiarism detection software:

  • All assignments submitted will become part of the Turnitin database
  • Students must not put their name or ID number on any assignment submitted, to protect their privacy.
  • A unique identifier will be issued by Turnitin for each submission.

Assignments do not have to meet the word limit requirements exactly. As a general rule, students may work within a margin of +/- 10%.

Read all assignment instructions carefully. Seek clarification if you are not sure what is expected of you by a given assignment.

Turnitin is a software package that checks submitted work for plagiarism. When you upload your assignment for marking, the Turnitin software package scans your assignment for matches with published materials, contents of webpages, and other students’ assignments. The Turnitin report to which your lecturers have access indicates where you have copied, word-for-word, someone else's writing, and from where you copied it. Lecturers are then able to check if you have referenced the copied material as a quote or not.

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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Discussion Forum (weekly)
  • Online: Moodle Forum Discussion
2. Reading Report
  • In Class: In Lecture
3. Video presentation
  • In Class: In Lecture
4. Research report
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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There is no text book used in this paper. The readings list for this course is located on the Moodle course support site. All readings are managed by the university’s online Reading List Talis Aspire system.
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Online Support

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Online support is via the paper management system Moodle.

Paper materials will be made available to students via Moodle. Such materials include important announcements and documents (including the paper outline and lecture notes).

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In addition to attending classes, you are expected to complete the reading programme and the course assessment tasks. The expected workload for this paper is an average of 20 hours per week.
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Linkages to Other Papers

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Restricted papers: GEOG520

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