• Class Number 4528
  • Term Code 3330
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Topic Online
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • Prof Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt
    • Prof Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 20/02/2023
  • Class End Date 26/05/2023
  • Census Date 31/03/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 27/02/2023
SELT Survey Results

The human civilization is experiencing a rapidly changing climate, loss of bio-diversity and a steadily degrading environment. Many of these changes were brought onto the Earth by human action, leading scholars and experts to call it 'the Anthropocene', a geological era in which the human species have become dominant over all others. This course exposes students to the most contentious issues related to development and the environment in the Anthropocene, and examine their connections.  It critically builds on the ideas within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), exploring a wide variety of thematic topics and a great deal of academic debate through 12 exciting topics or themes or modules, in each of which a couple of readings are given as 'core' or 'required' readings. These readings aim to present a range of research-based arguments and debates, and reflect the wider implications of these thematic topics for understanding the relationship between the economic, social, and political processes associated with development and the real-life practice of environmental and natural resource management. 

The course will expose students to wider debates on sustainability and nature in context of development. From setting the scene with the SDGs, the course will discuss issues around the Anthropocene, Nine Planetary Boundaries, climate change, extractivism, energy transition, agrarian transformation, waters and rivers, and methodological approaches such as Political Ecology as well as theoretical issues such as the epistemology of the environment.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate a thorough understanding of the current debates around contemporary environmental and development.
  2. Summarise and formulate arguments and contribute, individually and collaboratively to debates about development and the environment in the Anthropocene.
  3. Critically identify, analyse, and discuss long-term trends in development and environment.
  4. Demonstrate, through identification and critical evaluation, an understanding of the implications of the impacts of development on the environment.
  5. Communicate, orally and in writing, complex arguments and responses to critical debates around environment and development.

Research-Led Teaching

Yes. I research into these areas

Field Trips


Additional Course Costs


Examination Material or equipment

None needed

Required Resources

All required and recommended readings will be provided on Wattle.

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 Can UN’s SDGs deal with the challenges of the Anthropocene?
2 What are the Nine Planetary Boundaries and why have we crossed them?
3 What are the key features of the Anthropocene debate?
4 What are the debates around climate change and development?
5 Rivers in the Anthropocene
6 Land in the Anthropocene
7 How are rural communities affected by agrarian transformation?
8 In what ways are old and new extractivisms different?
9 Food and development in the Anthropocene
10 Informal economies and development
11 Knowledge production - Epistemologies of the environment

Tutorial Registration

To start with, let me first note that I expect the student to come to the in-person or online class having read the weekly reading(s), the required readings at least, but if possible, checking out the supplementary readings, and having listened to the recorded lecture(s). The recorded lecture presents an overview of the topic to be covered that week in a PowerPoint presentation. Coming to the class after doing these two things will permit qualitatively a high-quality and more informed discussion in the class.

A typical class plan would roughly be:

·       Wait for students to join in, and Kuntala – while waiting for a full complement of students – asks each student for questions/issues to discuss later in the tutorial.

·       Kuntala – introduces the key theme/ideas for this week and outlines the rough plan for today

·       Students expect to be asked and usually have things to say.

·       Collectively, we review the reading(s) on Wattle for this week

·       Kuntala leads discussion re student questions collected at the beginning linking them with the discussion/lectures/course material.

·       Finally, before we end, Kuntala introduces the topic for next week.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
1. Scenario Exercise 40 % 20/04/2023 10/05/2023 2,4,5
2. Class Presentation of final essay 10 % 26/05/2023 06/06/2023 2,3
Final essay 40 % 30/05/2023 30/06/2023 2,3, 5,5
4. Participation and engagement with the course through in-person or online classes 10 % 20/06/2023 20/06/2023 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

* 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: 40 %
Due Date: 20/04/2023
Return of Assessment: 10/05/2023
Learning Outcomes: 2,4,5

1. Scenario Exercise

A collaborative group work in which members will work as different stakeholders concerned about the environmental issues related to a development project. You will be assigned to one of the groups as a member of which you are expected to think about your group interests, raise issues related to your interests and concerns, and work with other groups to address how these challenges could be met. You will need to collaboratively develop a short submission of not more than 1000 words to the Adjudicator Committee. This assessment item will require your deep involvement in the course, and interact closely with other students. Please check the relevant site on Wattle for more detailed description.

Length: 1000 words

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 26/05/2023
Return of Assessment: 06/06/2023
Learning Outcomes: 2,3

2. Class Presentation of final essay

Enhances scholarly communication and critical thinking skills, enables reflective perspectives on course learning, and allows the student to communicate in a workshop mode. Presentations are usually 5-7 minutes, with 5-7 slides or a video-recording.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 30/05/2023
Return of Assessment: 30/06/2023
Learning Outcomes: 2,3, 5,5

Final essay

An academic, critically developed and short write up of up to 2,000 words on a specific theme/topic that the student wishes to pursue or may include an analysis of the critical challenges related to the environment and development either in general, or about a specific topic or in context of a particular development project. Your critical analysis would reveal the implications for the environmental policy and/or practice. The 2000 word paper will require students to combine multiple topics discussed in class into a research paper (further assignment details will be provided on Wattle). Students will be required to:

  • combine multiple topics discussed in class into a research paper,
  • conduct interdisciplinary research,
  • be creative in the use of source materials,
  • take an analytical approach,
  • show capacity to organise the material and write effectively, and
  • place the subject in its wider context.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 20/06/2023
Return of Assessment: 20/06/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

4. Participation and engagement with the course through in-person or online classes

Regular class participation in class discussions/activities, collaboration with other students, active and energetic participation in discussions, readiness to pose questions and interest & ability to address them

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 Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt

Research Interests

Environment-society interface in developing countries, livelihoods and development, extractive industries, agrarian change, water and rivers, climate change and energy transition

Prof Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt

Monday 15:30 16:00
Monday 15:30 16:00
Prof Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt

Research Interests

Prof Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt

Monday 15:30 16:00
Monday 15:30 16:00

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