What are environmental impacts? What drives them? Is it population growth or consumption of the rich? What methods are used to study environmental change? What is the contribution of social sciences and humanities in studying environmental change? What solutions have been proposed? What are major lines of controversy? How did environmental discourses evolve?

The study of anthropogenic environmental change is not a unified field but rather a divers set of scientific discourses and concepts. The reason for this is that environmental change cuts across academic disciplines. Some of these discourses became established scientific fields, some became hegemonic in the policy arena, and some occupy various niches. The main goal of this course is to understand major schools of thought in environmental studies, what their core propositions are, which methods they use, when they evolved, how they position themselves vis-a-vis competing discourses.

This course will be carried out via e-learning. I expect this to work smoothly, as long as the platform we use and the internet connections are working. We will use an online platform (tba) and moodle to exchange materials.

This course will be held in English to be accessible for both German and international HU students. All presentations and discussions will be in English, course papers can be written in English or German. The requirements for 3 ECTS are regular participation, an individual or a group (depending on the number of students enrolled) power point presentation of one of the course topics lasting about 20 minutes and weekly reading reports (see below). Class hours will be reduced from the usual 4 hours to 1,5 hours, but held more often (roughly weekly, see below the class dates).

Each week another part of the literature will be the core topic. I will ask those students, who are not in charge of presenting the papers of the week to hand in half a page reading documentation, where you should formulate the core hypothesis of the texts and up to three questions. If you want 5 ECTS you additionally need to write an essay of app. 5 pages at the end of the semester. All documents, including the ppts for the presentation and the individual comments must be uploaded to moodle until noon the day before the class. Instructions how the essay should be structured and what it should cover will also be available in moodle.

We will not use a text book but original scientific texts spanning a range of disciplines and published at different times. This is challenging. Some readings are journal papers which you are expected to read in full. Some are books that you should skim to identify the main hypotheses and propositions. The weekly documents are important for me to judge your understanding of the texts and to streamline the discussions.

Semester: SuTerm 2020