- Code EMDV8009
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by Crawford School of Public Policy
- ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
- Course subject Environmental Management & Development
- Areas of interest Environmental Studies, Asia Pacific Studies
- Academic career PGRD
- AsPr Keith Barney
- Mode of delivery Online or In Person
Second Semester 2023
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This course is available for on-campus & remote (online) learning. All students participate in interactive, real-time classes.
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.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Understand existing theories explaining environmental conflict, through 'environmental security' and 'political ecology' perspectives
- Grasp the breadth of environmental conflicts occurring in different sites and resources sectors across the Asia-Pacific region
- Situate the spatial-historical contexts and politics of environmental conflict situations, grasping their roots, fluidities and complexities
- Understand how emerging environmental conflicts can involve overlapping and cumulative drivers, occurring simultaneously at multiple scales
- Consider potential practical resolutions to resource conflict situations, taking account of diverse stakeholder agendas and changing circumstances
- 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
- Blog Post on Theories of Resource Conflict ( 800 words) (10) [LO 1,6]
- Reaction Paper to a Week's Case Study Readings ( 2 x 300 words each) (5) [LO 1,2,3,4]
- In-Class Small Group Presentation (15 minutes) (15) [LO 1,2,3,4]
- Case Study ( 2,000 words) (30) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
- Final Essay (2,500 words) (40) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
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.
The standard workload for a 6 unit course is 130 hours including class time and independent study.
The weekly readings consist of curated academic articles, book chapters and selected grey literature reports.
Homer-Dixon, T, (1994). “Environmental Scarcities and Violent Conflict: Evidence from Cases.” International Security. 19(1): 5-40.
Peluso, N. L. and M. Watts (ed.’s) (2001). Violent Environments. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Watts, M, and N. L. Peluso (2014). “Resource Violence.” Chapter 19 In Carl Death (Ed.). Critical Environmental Politics. Oxon: Routledge.
Le Billon, P. and R. Duffy (2018). “Conflict Ecologies: Connecting Political Ecology and Peace and Conflict Studies.” Journal of Political Ecology. 25(1): 239-260.
Le Billon, P. (2015). “Environmental Conflict.” pp. 598-608. In T. Perrault, J. McCarthy and G. Bridge (ed.’s) The Routledge Handbook of Political Ecology. London: Routledge.
Le Billon, P. (2010). “The Political Ecology of War: Natural Resources and Armed Conflicts.” Political Geography.20(5): 561-584.
Dalby, S. (2002). Environmental Security. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Dalby, S. (2013). “Environmental Dimensions of Human Security.” pp. 121-138. In R. Floyd and R. Matthew (Ed.’s) Environmental Security: Approaches and Issues. Taylor and Francis
Dalby, S. (2014). “Security.” Chapter 23 In Carl Death (Ed.). Critical Environmental Politics. Oxon: Routledge.
Floyd, R. and R. Matthew (Ed.’s) (2013). Environmental Security: Approaches and Issues. Taylor and Francis.
Barnett, J. (2015). “Environmental Security.” In A. Collins (Ed.) Contemporary Security Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Barnett, J. (2020). “Global Environmental Change II: Political Economies of Vulnerability to Climate Change.” Progress in Human Geography. 44(6): 1172-1184.
Pichler, M, and A. Brad (2016). “Political Ecology and Socio-Ecological Conflicts in Southeast Asia.” ASEAS- Austrian Journal of Southeast Asian Studies. 9(1): 1-10.
Spratt, D. and I, Dunlop. (2018). What Lies Beneath: The Understatement of Existential Climate Risk. Melbourne: National Centre for Climate Restoration.
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