• 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, Resource and Environmental Management
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person

This course is available for on-campus & remote (online) learning. All students participate in interactive, real-time classes.

This course explores the drivers and effects of environmental and resource conflicts in the Asia-Pacific region including Australia. The course develops a critically informed toolkit, which has applications for conflict avoidance and resolution, as well as for transformative change.

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 also engages in people's responses to environmental degradation and injustice, through a sustained engagement with environmental social movements and resistance. The course applies these ideas to a series of case studies around the Asia-Pacific region, including Australia. The cases explore conflicts that mobilise Indigenous rights, minority rights, states, and resource industries; inter-state conflicts over resources; and conflicts over regional or global commons.

Finally, 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. In this context, the course explores how progressive actors and civil society institutions are attempting to counter trajectories towards intensified resource conflicts, in pursuit of environmental justice.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate a solid understanding of existing theories explaining environmental conflict, through 'environmental security' and 'political ecology' perspectives
  2. Critically apply this theoretical understanding to the breadth of environmental conflicts occurring in different sites and resources sectors across the Asia-Pacific region
  3. Explore environmental social movements and resistance as a key dimension of environmental conflicts
  4. Examine 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

Indicative Assessment

  1. Blog (800 words) (10) [LO 1,2]
  2. In-Class Small Group Presentation (15 minutes) (15) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  3. Short Essay ( 1,500 words) (25) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  4. Final Essay (3,000 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.


The standard workload for a 6 unit course is 130 hours including class time and independent study.

Prescribed Texts

The weekly readings consist of curated academic articles, book chapters and selected grey literature reports.

Preliminary Reading

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. 


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
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $4680
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $6360
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

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