• Offered by School of Culture History and Language
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Classification Transitional
  • Course subject Asian Studies
  • Areas of interest Anthropology, Environmental Studies, Asia Pacific Studies, Climate, Public Health
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Assa Doron
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Winter Session 2022
    See Future Offerings

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.

Other Information

Intensive Course Timetable

Lectures: Live and Pre-Recorded

These will be timetabled and made available twice a week from following dates: 15 June*, & 18 June; 22 June and 25 June; and 29th and 2 July.

*NB. The first lecture will be conducted in live zoom format to get to know each other

Face to Face Lectures, tutorials and class presentations (July 9 Friday till 12th Monday):

First Session: Friday July 9th: 5-8 Lecture (3HRS)

Second session: Saturday 10-5PM (7HRS)

Third Session: Sunday 10-4PM (6HRS)

Fourth Session: Monday 9-1PM (4 HRS)

Post Face to Face Zoom sessions to discuss evaluations

Two sessions of zoom in a live format to be held on July 15th and July 22nd from 6-8 PM.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Research Essay 2000 words (30) [LO 1,3,4,5]
  2. Contribution Reports and Tutorial Performance (20) [LO 1,2]
  3. Final Independent Research Essay 4000 words (50) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]

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.


This course requires a total of 130 hrs commitment, including of independent study.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Prescribed Texts

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. 

Preliminary Reading

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

Ballard C and G Banks (2013) "Resource Wars: The Anthropology of Mining," Annual Review of Anthropology, 32: 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

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.), 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 (forthcoming)

Jacka J (2001) Coca Cola and Kolo: Land Ancestors and Development, Anthropology Today V17 1-8. 

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.

McWilliam A.R. (2015) ‘Hunting and Harvesting the Commons: On the cultural politics of custom in East Timor’, in R Feijo and S Viegas (eds) Co-habitations and Power Dynamics: Land, Exchange, and Governance Contexts for Timor-Leste. ICS: Lisbon 

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

Rademacher, A & Sivaramakrishnan, S. (2013, eds). Ecologies of Urbanism in India (Hong Kong University Press)


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Winter Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
4572 01 Jul 2022 22 Jul 2022 22 Jul 2022 30 Sep 2022 In-Person and Online N/A

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