The University of Southampton
Courses

GEOG3041 Geographies of Nature

Module Overview

This is a Module not about learning new facts or figures, or necessarily huge swathes of substantive knowledge about food consumption and food production (a dominant theme). Rather it invites you to develop a repertoire of theories and concepts to think critically about your own ideas, practices in relation to environmental citizenship, what you eat, how you relate to the natural world, who we are as humans in what has been named as the ‘anthropocene’ and the era of the ‘post-human’. These different areas of interest are connected by how they position societies relationship to, the naming of and production of what is unproblematically often called ‘nature, Nature or natural’.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

By the end of the module you will be able to: evaluate the current geographical research on nature; understand the key ideas associated with human and nonhuman relations; assess the commercial and environmental implications of regulating human use of 'nature'; appreciate the interplay between consumption practices, commercial practices and the media; recognise the importance of culture in how nature is known.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Evaluate the current geographical research on nature
  • Understand the key ideas associated with human and nonhuman relations
  • Assess the commercial and environmental implications of regulating human use of 'nature'
  • Appreciate the interplay between consumption practices, commercial practices and the media
  • Recognise the importance of culture in how nature is known

Syllabus

What is Nature? Where is Nature? Are we witnessing the end of Nature? Animals, plants, trees, landscapes, our bodies - are they natural? This module will discuss these questions in the context of thinking about the practices by which food (of animal and vegetable origin) is produced, marketed and eaten. And it will consider broader debates about the role of commerce, science, regulation, and NGOs in the circulation of practical and discursive knowledges about the environment within a global economy. Additionally, students will be asked to critically reflect upon their own relationship with nonhuman ‘natural’ things that they consume, appreciate and feel passionate about. This module encourages and teaches critical thinking. It draws on some philosophy and social theory. Four films, a half day field trip, reading groups, and a seminar discussion feature in the teaching approach to this course. The course covers: • Environmental Citizenship, Politics of Climate Science, Social Natures, Social construction of ‘nature’, Nonhuman geographies . • Embodied consumption practices: everyday geographies of eating and shopping for food • Food animals in the supply chain in UK and Europe: growing meat, commercialising nonhuman bodies, the sociology of animal welfare science, selling animal welfare as a food quality. • The post-human: medical biotechnology and inter-species ethics.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

• Lecture • Class-discussion • Field-trip • Films • Student-led reading groups • Seminars

TypeHours
Independent Study120
Teaching30
Total study time150

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 40%
Exam  (2 hours) 60%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Exam 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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