• Class Number 5306
  • Term Code 3360
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Topic On Campus
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • AsPr Keith Barney
    • AsPr Keith Barney
    • Dr Sarah Milne
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/07/2023
  • Class End Date 27/10/2023
  • Census Date 31/08/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 31/07/2023
SELT Survey Results

This course mobilises comparative insights from the fields of "environmental security" and ""political ecology", and brings then into a productive conversation to help understand the drivers of environmental and resource conflicts in the Asia-Pacific region including Australia. Insights from the two schools establish a productive theoretical tension and a critically-informed toolkit, which have applications for conflict avoidance and resolution. Students will engage with classic debates on whether cases of environmental violence are best understood as connected to the dynamics of resource degradation, poverty and scarcity, or the mechanisms of extraction and unequal distribution of resource-based wealth in a globalised economy. Notions of environmental conflict and violence are situated as a “... site-specific phenomenon deeply rooted in local histories and social relations, but also connected to transitional processes of material change, political power relations and historical conjuncture” (Peluso and Watts, 2001).

The insights of environmental security are used to situate how environmental conflicts can become critical threats to human well-being, while also understanding the limits of "securitisation" discourse. The course raises critical questions of "security for whom?"; and interrogates how a new generation of environmental and human security scholars are responding to the critique from political ecologists. The course applies these ideas to a series of case studies around the Asia-Pacific region, including cases of minority rights, states, and resource industries; inter-state conflicts over resources that span sovereign jurisdictions; and conflicts over regional or global commons. The course positions how the prospect of disruptive anthropogenic climate change has ushered in a new discourse of systemic or multiplying threats, raising concerns over the security of critical resources, ecosystems and infrastructure. We will also build an analysis of how progressive actors and civil society institutions are attempting to counter trajectories towards intensified resource conflicts, through North-South social movements and environmental justice frameworks.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Understand existing theories explaining environmental conflict, through 'environmental security' and 'political ecology' perspectives
  2. Grasp the breadth of environmental conflicts occurring in different sites and resources sectors across the Asia-Pacific region
  3. Situate the spatial-historical contexts and politics of environmental conflict situations, grasping their roots, fluidities and complexities
  4. Understand how emerging environmental conflicts can involve overlapping and cumulative drivers, occurring simultaneously at multiple scales
  5. Consider potential practical resolutions to resource conflict situations, taking account of diverse stakeholder agendas and changing circumstances
  6. Adeptly apply and combine different understandings of understanding environmental conflicts through the application of social theory to historical and contemporary case studies, through a logical and ethics-based approach

Research-Led Teaching

This class draws upon the extensive fieldwork and research experience of the two lecturers-- from both Southeast Asia and Australia

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.

Other Information


The Crawford School of Public Policy has its own Academic Skills team dedicated to helping students to understand the academic expectations of studying at Crawford and succeed in their chosen program of study. Through individual appointments, course-embedded workshops and online resources, Crawford Academic Skills provides tailored advice to students keen to develop their academic reading, thinking, planning, writing, and presentation skills. 

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Political Ecology and Violent Environments
2 Environmental Security as Human Security Assessment Task 1: Blog Post
3 Environmental Social Movements and Grassroots Resistance- Cambodia
4 Environmental Conflicts- Case Study from Australia
5 Community-based Environmental Problem Solving - Cambodia's Tonle Sap
6 Environmental Social Movements- Case Study from Australia Assessment Task 3: Case Study
7 Environmental Transformations and Ethnic Groups in Conflict- Historical Experiences from Kalimantan, Indonesia
8 Resettlement and Forest-Land Policy Reform as Environmental Conflict in Upland Lao PDR
9 Land, Resources, Ethnicity, and Civil Conflict in Myanmar
10 Displacement, Forced Migration and Unfree Labour in Thailand's Fisheries Sector
11 The Geopolitics and Geo-economics of Infrastructure Development in the Lao Mekong Basin: China's Belt and Road Initiative
12 Climate Change, Australian Environmental Security, and Rupture Assessment Task 4: Final Essay

Tutorial Registration

Sign up on Wattle for On campus or Online Tutorials.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Weekly commentaries 10 % * * 1, 2
Blog post 10 % 10/08/2023 24/08/2023 1
Case study 35 % 15/09/2023 29/09/2023 1, 2, 3, 4
Final Essay 45 % 10/11/2023 01/12/2023 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 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2

Weekly commentaries

At least two commentaries on weekly readings, of your choice. Due throughout the semester. Worth 5% each (10% total), 400 words each.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 10/08/2023
Return of Assessment: 24/08/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1

Blog post

Short blog on thinking through resource conflicts through the "schools" of political ecology versus environmental security (10%). 800 words

Assessment Task 3

Value: 35 %
Due Date: 15/09/2023
Return of Assessment: 29/09/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4

Case study

Develop a case study of an environmental conflict, of your choosing, based upon the module taught by Sarah. 2,000 words

Assessment Task 4

Value: 45 %
Due Date: 10/11/2023
Return of Assessment: 01/12/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4

Final Essay

Prepare either: (i) a conceptual and analytical essay about an environmental conflict; OR (ii) a policy brief of an environmental conflict. 2,500 words

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).
AsPr Keith Barney
02 6125 4957

Research Interests

Resource geography, political ecology, agrarian studies, Southeast Asian Studies

AsPr Keith Barney

Sunday 15:00 17:00
Sunday 15:00 17:00
AsPr Keith Barney
6125 4957

Research Interests

AsPr Keith Barney

Sunday 15:00 17:00
Sunday 15:00 17:00
Dr Sarah Milne
6125 4443

Research Interests

Resource geography, political ecology, agrarian studies, Southeast Asian Studies

Dr Sarah Milne

By Appointment

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions