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Courses / Modules / HUMA2026 Data Environmentalism

Data Environmentalism

When you'll study it
Semester 1
CATS points
ECTS points
Level 5
Module lead
James Baker
Academic year

Module overview

Data is material. It is produced by people, it is made possible by resource extraction, it needs power to survive, it inhabits and resculpts the landscape. The use of data, then, contributes to climate catastrophe, but that role can be hard to see, hidden as it often is by a veneer of utopian hype that surrounds the information technology sector.

Drawing on scholarship from digital media studies, environmental history, computer science, science and technology studies, climate science, and archival science, this module examines the past, present, and future intersections of data and the natural environment. It lifts the lid on the countercultural origins of techno-utopianism. It examines the environmental degradation and injustices that techno-utopianism has and continues to hide (e.g. the instrumentalisation of personal climate responsibility). And it opens a pathway for building an intersectional and justice-oriented data environmentalism.