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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Geography (GEOG)

GEOG 434 Politics of the Environment (3) This course explores politics related to the use, transformation, valuation, and representation of the environment.

GEOG 434

GEOG 434 Politics of the Environment (3)

Scholarship in geography and related disciplines has demonstrated that nature in general and specific environments in particular are unavoidably political. Environmental management can thus never be a purely scientific or technological challenge; it requires critical analysis of cultural, political, and economic contexts, factors, and effects. For instance, effective environmental management requires consideration of how culture shapes how we perceive and value our environments, who wins and who loses in any particular approach to environmental management, and what the relative advantages and disadvantages of competing institutional approaches to environmental management are.

This course examines the development of environmental governance, with a primary focus on the United States. It explores both how various groups within society conceive of and value the environment, and multiple approaches to environmental governance and protection. It reviews the history of environmental movements and regulation, and contemporary issues and debates in environmental governance, with particular attention to the effects of institutional forms and social movements. In particular, it examines competing arguments for and against governance approaches centered on state action, market mechanisms, and prominent roles for NGOs and social movements.

Students will be evaluated based on: 1) their participation in class discussions, based on critical engagement with material from course readings and lectures; 2) their performance on a midterm and a final examination; 3) an individual research project on a topic relevant to the course, to be designed and carried out under the supervision of the course instructor.

General Education: None
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: None
Effective: Spring 2007
Prerequisite: 6 credits in social sciences or humanities

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

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