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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

MODL2075 Global Environmental Humanities

20 creditsClass Size: 40

Module manager: Dr David Pattinson

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Humans around the world have responded in a wide variety of cultural forms to the environment in which they live, whether as expressions of what that environment means in their own society and lives, and what is thought of as the best way to live in that environment, including how to respond to challenges both natural and generated by human behaviour. In our own time, in order to tackle the array of environmental crises which threaten the viability of human societies around the world, people rightly turn to scientists who study the physical environment to gain a fuller understanding of these threats and how they might be addressed. However, cultural forms usually identified with the Humanities frequently play a crucial role in how these threats are perceived, experienced and presented, and how solutions to them are proposed, argued for, and lived out. These responses are commonly conditioned by historical and cultural contexts, and relative position in webs of power relations including, but not limited to, gender, race, ethnicity, class, language and technology. In this module, students will examine and reflect upon some of the many ways in which humanity has responded culturally to the environment in which it lives, with an emphasis on comparisons across cultures around the world, across different cultural forms, and some historical comparison. This could include literature, film, performing arts, visual arts, activist and corporate responses in culture, and religious/spiritual expressions.


This module explores ways in which humans have responded, and are responding, to the environment in which they live through diverse forms of cultural expression. It aims to:
• Introduce students to the concept of Environmental Humanities and its importance in global understandings, practices and debates about humanity’s relationship with the environment in which it lives;
• Introduce students to a range of genres through which cultural responses to the environment have been expressed;
• Stimulate critical awareness of how these responses have varied across geographical regions and cultures around the world, as well as across time;
• Enhance students’ understanding of how factors such as lived environmental context, ethnicity, race, gender, class, language and technology can influence cultural responses to the environment;
• Introduce students to some ways of thinking about aspects of the Environmental Humanities from a theoretical point of view.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. articulate why and how Environmental Humanities contributes to our understanding of the world in which we live;
2. compare and analyse how the different cultural forms that come under the umbrella of Environmental Humanities are, or have been, deployed in different cultures and societies;
3. demonstrate attention to factors which may condition cultural responses to the environment, and how they have influenced, or been marginalised in, fields which constitute the Environmental Humanities;
4. demonstrate familiarity with some of the methodologies used to analyse fields within the Environmental Humanities.


The range of topics, cultural forms, geographical regions and time periods covered will vary in any given year, but they will include a selection of the following:
• historical responses to the environment in culture, and the role of locality, tradition and the past in contemporary environmental discourses
• literature
• film, theatre, music or other forms of performance
• visual arts
• religion and spirituality
• gender, race, ethnicity, class and the environment
• language and its environmental context
• forms of advocacy, protest and resistance
• corporate and government presentation of environmental issues

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours170.00
Total Contact hours30.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

The 170 hours of private study may include:
• reading texts, watching videos or otherwise engaging with material related to lectures or in preparation for seminars, averaging 2-4 hours per week depending on whether there is a seminar or not (c. 60h)
• research and writing the 2,500-word essay (c. 30h)
• research and writing the reflective log (c. 40h)
• further reading/viewing, particularly as students decide which topics to write on for their assessed work. This will also allow time for students to work on the formative element of their assessment, i.e. a practice reflective log entry. (c. 40h)

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

This will mostly happen through class activities, but students will be given the opportunity to submit one practice section of the reflective log for feedback, as long as they do so before Week 6 of Semester 2.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2,000-2,500 words50.00
Reflective log1,500 words50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

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

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 28/04/2023 14:42:36


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