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2021/22 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

LISS1041 Global Challenges in the Anthropocene: Health, Food Security and Climate Change

10 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Markus Fraundorfer

Taught: 1 Jul to 31 Aug View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

Pre-requisite qualifications

GPA of 2.8 (US) or equivalent and enrolled at a university

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

We have now entered a new geological epoch defined as the Anthropocene. During the 20th century, humanity has transformed the geology, biosphere and atmosphere of planet Earth. Given these momentous developments, we are now confronting a range of challenges which are truly global in scale. How is the global governance system coping with these challenges? Which mechanisms, dynamics and solutions exist to confront these challenges? What are the difficulties and dilemmas in confronting these challenges? This module will explore these questions and consider global challenges facing society. You will have the opportunity to study infectious diseases and epidemics. In the twenty-first century, global epidemics have become ever more frequent. You will also examine challenges around agricultural production and climate change. The global food system has turned into the main driver of environmental degradation. This is due to its industrialised production methods and global commodity chains. Increasing CO2 emissions have put further stress on our ecosystems. Not to mention the breath-taking loss of the last few rainforests. You will gain an understanding of how all these challenges defy key notions of the international system. How they reconfigure our understanding of borders. And how they reshape international, transnational and global political dynamics.


The module explores the current difficulties of state and non-state actors in global governance to find sustainable and long-term solutions to a variety of fundamental global challenges which threaten the survival of our globalised civilisation as we know it. We discuss the seriousness and urgency of these global challenges (climate change, infectious diseases, agricultural production and the protection of freshwater resource), analyse how these challenges are tackled in the global governance system, explore the roles of different state and non-state actors and assess the limitations of global responses to these challenges.

Learning outcomes
On completion of the module students will be able to:

1. interpret the concept of the Anthropocene and key debates revolving around the concept

2. understand how global challenges shape and reshape our understanding of (global) politics and global governance

3. explain some of the key mechanisms and actors in global governance to confront these challenges

4. understand the difficulties and dilemmas in confronting global challenges like infectious diseases, agricultural production and climate change


Indicative syllabus - topics may include:
- Conceptualising the Anthropocene and alternative concepts (Capitalocene, Technocene, Novacene)
- Conceptualising global governance
- Conceptualising gridlock in global governance
- The changing role of diplomacy in the Anthropocene
- The global challenge of climate change
- The global challenge of infectious diseases
- The global challenge of agricultural production
- The global challenge of freshwater pollution

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours15.00
Private study hours43.00
Total Contact hours42.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

15 hours pre-course preparatory work (materials available on Minerva): this will include reading assigned texts and preparation of elements relevant to assignments and group work in class.
43 hours private study: this will include reading assigned texts, preparing class assignments and completing two written assignments.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

During the seminars, students will receive feedback and their progress will be monitored by themselves and tutor on an ongoing basis, e.g. class discussion during seminars focused on case studies.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Reflective log500 words30.00
Tutorial PerformanceStudent participation in class assignments10.00
Case Study1500 words60.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 30/06/2021 16:24:23


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