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This course critically explores the relationship between nature and society. Nature is neither inherently pristine nor indefinitely unchanged; rather constantly shaped by social-ecological relations. The current state of nature is, then, a product of the interactions between human and non-human actors in complexly entwined social-ecological relations. Studying nature politically means seeing nature not as a given but as the product of political processes involving winners and losers, hidden costs, and differential powers.

In the age of climate change, extreme weather patterns are causing unpredictable and unprecedented natural disasters. It has abundantly become clear that human activities have contributed to the accelerated pace of climate change. Various forms of environmental inequality arising from power relations among states, markets, and civil society as well as the increasing global flows of capital, goods, and people across national boundaries. 

It is therefore not only important but also imperative for each of us to understand how the complex interactions between humans and non-humans have historically reworked the environment. With a proper understanding of the trajectory, we can think about ways in which humans and non-humans relate to each other—i.e., coexistence, cohabitation, and coproduction—beyond the human-centric view of the world.  

Moving from theory to practice, this course provides students with analytical concepts and tools that enable students to identify key drivers of agrarian and environmental change, to understand how and why the impacts of environmental change are unevenly spread across the globe, and to develop relational approaches to and solutions for real-world issues sustainability.

Offered by the the Faculty of Liberal Arts at Sophia University

Course code: POL 307

Instructor: Takeshi Ito

For more information on this course:

Political Ecology Syllabus 2019

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