LAS 388 • POLITICAL ECOLOGY
1:00 PM-4:00 PM
Case Studies from Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East will illustrate the theoretical material introduced in this course. Political ecology is a research approach that incorporates political and economic as well as social causes of environmental change. Thus this course will also provide an introduction the history of development theory in the twentieth century, economic globalization, studies in the history of science (specifically environmental sciences and ecology), issues of social justice, and critical studies of environmental history. This course will cover the background and genesis of political ecology as an approach to studying environmental change/degradation. We will examine the theoretical roots and the intellectual development of political ecology over the last several decades. We will sample a large section of the current political ecology literature dealing with environmental change and degradation globally. Students will be introduced to the field methods used in political ecology as well as to grant/proposal writing.
Students will write 1 (one) page "critical reviews" of the reading materials every week and each student will lead one of the seminar sessions during the semester. Depending on the student's progress in their graduate program, either a research paper, a grant proposal, or a dissertation prospectus will form the majority of the basis for grading. Other assignments will be required.
Readings (a partial list): Leach and Mearns (1996) The Lie of the Land; Peluso and Watts (2001) Violent Environments; Anderson and Grove (1990); Conservation in Africa; Zerner (2000) People, Plants and Justice; Brohman (1995) Popular Development; Peet and Watts (2003) Liberation Ecologies; Agrawal (2005) Environmentality: Technologies of Government and the Making of Subjects; Peet (2003) Unholy Trinity: The IMF, World Bank and WTO; Robbins (2004) Political Ecology: A Critical Introduction; Urban Political Ecology (2005);and possibly Neumann (2005) Making Political Ecology and Freidberg (2004) French Beans and Food Scares: Culture and Commerce in an Anxious Age. We will also read a large collection of articles. Please note that some of these books will change as many excellent new texts are currently being released. Please do not purchase books until the first week of class after you have received the syllabus.