This course uses a geographical political ecology lens to interrogate conflicts (broadly defined) between people and institutions over natural resources, in both developed and developing world contexts. The course will first review the literature on political ecology as an explanatory framework by tracing out its intellectual genealogy and outlining some of the current approaches and perspectives utilized in this subfield. Next, we will critique traditional approaches to the study of natural resources related conflicts. The remainder of the course will rely on theoretical and empirical studies, which help to unveil the complexities associated with conflict environments. Seven specific themes will be addressed in two parts. The first part concentrates on political ecological approaches to the study of environmental commodities and (violent) conflict and encompasses: (1) population, resource scarcity and green security, and (2) conflict commodities and extractive natural resources (oil, diamonds, forests, and water). The second part of the course probes deeper into the social and political aspects of environmental conflicts and specifically examines: (3) gender & the environment; (4) land, culture & identity; (5) climate change; (6) food security, and; (7) conflicts between people and protected areas.
Political Ecology and Environmental Conflict