Course Title: Contemporary Environmental Thought

Part A: Course Overview

Course ID: 014739

Course Title: Contemporary Environmental Thought

Credit Points: 12

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


315H Architecture & Design


Sem 2 2006

Course Coordinator: judy rogers

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 3518

Course Coordinator Email:

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

There are no prerequisite courses.  Students undertaking this course will need critical thinking skills and be prepared to discuss/debate issues in class.  As the course is based on required reading students will need to complete reading each week and to prepare a response to a weekly question for discussion.

Course Description

This subject takes as its starting point the fact that environmental thought does not present us with a coherent body of knowledge. Instead, it has its own internal spectrum of debate resulting in a diverse range of approaches to thinking about ’environment’ and environmental ’problems’.

In this subject we will explore this diversity, from mainstream environmentalism (including sustainable development), through to more radical environmentalism, including deep ecology, social ecology and ecofeminism. We will critique contemporary environmental thought from a range of different perspectives and consider some of the key contemporary ‘challenges’ to environmental thought from environmental justice to social constructionism to postmodernity.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Specific graduate capabilities that you will develop in this course are:

1. Communication

-Research abilities including sourcing and accessing information, synthesis and integration of information, close reading.

-Written expression abilities including concise use of language, well structured argument, adequate citation/bibliography

2. Analysis

-Analytical abilities include an appreciation of interdisciplinary contexts/issues 
- an ability to draw on and integrate material from a range of sources to support an argument/position

At the completion of this subject students should

- Demonstrate familiarity with the diversity of ideas within contemporary environmental thought
-Have the ability to critique various environmental positions and claims from a range of different perspective
-Have some understanding of the key challenges to mainstream environmental thought and the way in which they have transformed contemporary thinking about the environment and nature
- Have the confidence to creatively and critically engage with environmental ideas and be able to justify a position

Overview of Learning Activities

The subject will comprise a mix of lectures, class exercises and seminars discussing a weekly theme/question. All students will be required to present one seminar paper addressing a set question and based on prescribed reading. All Students are required to read the set reading each week and complete weekly workbook exercises.

Much of the learning will be based on set readings and linked seminar discussions, so active preparation and participation by students is essential.

Overview of Learning Resources

Weekly readings will be provided in class

Overview of Assessment

1. Seminar Presentation and Write Up presentation 20%
write up 20%

Students will be required to present one seminar paper through the semester. Topics are detailed in the study program to follow. A written paper (1500 words) should be submitted one week after the presentation.

3. Workbook - 2000 words 60%

Students will be required to complete the required reading each week and write a short response (150 - 200 words) to the question provided. Responses must demonstrate an understanding of both the question and the required reading. Completion of the workbook excercises each week will ensure that all students can be involved in class discussions after seminar presentations. Workbooks will be assessed in week 6 - midway appraisal - and should be submitted in week 12.

Assessment Criteria for Workbook

Workbooks will need to:-

1. Demonstrate familiarity with the set reading;
2. Reflect an Understanding of the main ‘schools’ of contemporary environmental thought
3. articulate and defend a variety of positions on ‘environment’ within the context of the broader literature and be able to;
4. Critique that position by demonstrating an awareness of the assumptions embedded in that position
5. demonstrate an awareness of the limitations and potential of alternative positions
6. provide evidence of learning and change through engagement in the course
7. The work must also demonstrate minimum standards in the following areas:-
-adequate citation/bibliography
-appropriate style/structure
-professional presentation
-clear expression