• Class Number 4762
  • Term Code 3150
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In-Person and Online
    • Prof Assa Doron
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 15/06/2021
  • Class End Date 02/08/2021
  • Census Date 09/07/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 05/07/2021
SELT Survey Results

The course will introduce students to multiple drivers of social conflict against the backdrop of environmental change over the past century in Asia and the Pacific. Such challenges and conflicts emerge out of historical, social, economic, political, religious and cultural movements and debates, often linked to wider global forces. Topics include: the impact of colonialism, the politics of gender, nationalism and the environment, the postcolonial state and its role in conflict and environmental degradation. We also explore how indigenous knowledge and cultural traditions have been enrolled in the service of an ecological ethic and the kind of ideologies and activities have inspired environmental activism.

More generally, the course considers the critical question of how Asian and Pacific societies have redefined their relationship to the environment from the colonial period until present day. We investigate the relationships between environmental degradation, urbanization, migration, technological change and public health to reveal the key roles that state and non-state actors play in influencing social conflict and mediation.  


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of social conflict and environmental change across Asia and the Pacific.
  2. Build an intercultural knowledge and skill set necessary to engage successfully and critically in applied projects across a variety of urban, regional and rural settings.
  3. Understand and apply a range of perspectives to engage with critical issues facing Asia and the Pacific.
  4. Conduct independent research related to social conflict and environmental challenges, drawing on anthropological, historical and interdisciplinary sources.
  5. Communicate findings effectively to specialist and/or professional audiences.

Required Resources

Scott J 1998 Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed, Yale University Press.

Tsing A 2005 Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection, Princeton University Press. 

Horn, E and Hannes Bergthaller, The Anthropocene: Key Issues for the Humanities (London: Routledge, 2020)

Anderson, W (1995) “Excremental Colonialism: public health and the poetics of pollution” Critical Inquiry 21(3): 640-669

Ballard C and G Banks (2003) Resource Wars: The Anthropology of Mining, Annual Review of Anthropology, v32:281-313

Baviskar, A (2000), ‘Claims to knowledge, Claims to control: Environmental Conflict and the Great Himalayan National Park, India” in in Roy Ellen et al, Indigenous environmental knowledge and it transformations: critical anthropological perspectives (Harwood), pp. 101-120.

Chakrabarty, D (2009) “The Climate of History: Four Theses,” Critical Inquiry 35, no. 2 (2009): 197– 222

Chao, S (2018). “In the Shadow of the Palm: Dispersed Ontologies among Marind, West Papua.” Cultural Anthropology. 33(4): 621 – 649. DOI: 10.14506/ca33.4.08.

Chao, S. (2019). “The Truth About “Sustainable” Palm Oil.” SAPIENS. 13 June. Available online.

Cody, S (2018) 'Borrowing from the Rural to Help the Urban: Organic Farming Exemplars in Postsocialist China', The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, 19:1, 72-89, DOI: 10.1080/14442213.2017.1394362

Crang M, Nicky Gregson, Farid Ahamed, Raihana Ferdous and Nasreen Akhter (2012) “Death of the Phoenix and Pandora: transforming things of value in Bangladesh” in Catherine Alexander and Joshua Reno (eds.) (2013), Economies of Recycling: The global transformation of materials, values and social relations (London: Zed Books)

Doron, A & Raja I (2015) ‘The Cultural Politics of Shit’, Journal of Postcolonial Studies

England, Kim V.L. (1994) Getting Personal: Reflexivity, Positionality and Feminist Research’, Professional Geographer, 46(10: 80-89.  

Kothari, Uma (2006) ‘An agenda for thinking about ‘race’ in development’, Progress in Development Studies 6(1): 9-23.

Klein, Neomi (2016), "Let Them Drown (https://www.lrb.co.uk/2016/05/04/naomi-klein/video-let-the m-drown )", LRB 4 May

Li T M (2014) Land's End: Capitalist Relations on an Indigenous Frontier, Duke University Press.

Li T (2000) ‘Locating Indigenous Environmental Knowledge in Indonesia’ in Roy Ellen et al, Indigenous environmental knowledge and it transformations: critical anthropological perspectives (Harwood), pp. 120-147.

Massey, C (2020) 'The Ard, the Ant and the Anthropocene' Granta 153, Nov 2020 (online)

Williams, A. (2008).'Turning the Tide: Recognizing Climate Change Refugees in International Law' LAW & POLICY, Vol. 30, No. 4, October 2008.

Shah, A (2007) ‘The Dark Side of Indigeneity?: Indigenous People, Rights and Development in India’, History Compass, 5(6): 1806-1832.

Stein, E (2009). ' "Sanitary Maekshifts" and perpetuation of health stratification in Indonesia. In A. R. Hahan & C. M. Inhorn (Eds.), Anthropology and Public Health: Bridging diffrences in culture and scoiety (pp. 541-565). London: Oxford.

Xin Tong, Jici Wang (2012) “The shadow of the global network: e-waste flows to china” in Catherine Alexander and Joshua Reno (eds.), Economies of Recycling: The global transformation of materials, values and social relations (London: Zed Books)

Yusoff, K (2015) “Anthropogenesis: Origins and Endings in the Anthropocene” Theory, Culture and Society

Reports (International):

Greenpeace Report (2021) Fukushima Daiichi 2011-2021 (Online )

Changing Markets (2015) Bad Medicine (online )

UN (2019) Climate Change and Land: an IPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems (online )

WHO (May 2020) Manifesto for a Healthy Recovery from COVID-19 (online )

International Labour Organisation (2021) Empowering Women at Work – Government Laws and Policies for Gender Equality  (online )

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 15 June: Live Zoom seminar: Introduction to the Course We will discuss the overall scope and objectives of the course; as well as expectations and assessments (such as seminar presentations). We will discuss keywords and definitions related to the course material. 18 June; 22 June; 25 June; 29th June and 2 July: These pre-recorded lectures will cover the chief issues driving environmental issues, social conflicts, policy and practice in Asia and the Pacific. Some of the lectures will also be presented by guest speakers who are expert in these fields. Topics will include: Famines and natural disasters; Agribusiness and Livestock; Development and Trade; and more. First Lecture will be a live Zoom Session. In the lead up to the intensive face to face component, students will have approximately two-hours of pre-recorded lectures. These will be timetabled and made available in Zoom/Echo 360 format (approx. 50 mins x 2), appearing twice a week. Engaging with the pre-recorded lectu?res through embedded online activities will contribute to your overall participation in the course. Reflective Essay: 20% Due on 11 July 2021
2 9 July- 12 July (inclusive): Intensive Face to Face Lecture, tutorials and class presentation. During these days we will cover topics such as sanitation, waste, recycling, public health, gender, and climate change, among others. The face to face component will include tutorials, discussions in groups and class presentations by students, to help with their main essay. Class presentation and contribution 20%
3 15 & 22 Aug : Live Zoom seminars (6-8 PM): Policy and Practice Students will examine the implications of real-world problems and policy reports, amongst other issues. Overall participation in this part of the course is assessed as part of the 10% participation mark.

Tutorial Registration

Not applicable.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Seminar Participation and Online Engagement 10 % 15/07/2021 30/08/2021 1, 2
Class Presentations 20 % 09/07/2021 15/07/2021 1, 3
Reflective Essay 20 % 11/07/2021 22/07/2021 1, 2, 3, 4
Final Essay 50 % 30/08/2021 14/09/2021 1,2,3,4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 15/07/2021
Return of Assessment: 30/08/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2

Seminar Participation and Online Engagement

Oral contributions in seminars and interactive classes, combined with online activities

Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 09/07/2021
Return of Assessment: 15/07/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 3

Class Presentations

Demonstrate communication skills involved in scholarly inquiry and critical review of issues pertinent to the course content and specialist topics addressed in lectures.


Assessment Task 3

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 11/07/2021
Return of Assessment: 22/07/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4

Reflective Essay

2000 words (not including footnotes and references)

Critical analysis of scholarship, writing and resources on and about issues to do with development approaches and ideologies, and/or social conflicts due to and exacerbated by environmental change.

Topics will be discussed with Lecturer.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 30/08/2021
Return of Assessment: 14/09/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Final Essay

4000 words (not including footnotes and references)

Demonstrate an informed and critical appreciation of selected course themes and debates around conflict and environmental change at a postgraduate level of scholarship.

(Topics for the essay will need to be discussed with the Lecturer in advance)

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information. In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service — including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy. If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes. Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
Prof Assa Doron

Research Interests


Prof Assa Doron

By Appointment

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