|Course Type||Course Code||No. Of Credits|
Semester and Year Offered: Winter Semester
Course Coordinator and Team: Dr. Preeti Sampat
Email of course coordinator: psampat[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in
This course is designed to introduce students to debates around 'nature' from a sociological perspective. Assumed dichotomies between nature and society, or human and non-human nature are troubled with readings and discussions that highlight the social construction of these binaries. As human and non-human nature is increasingly subjected to market imperatives in the pursuit of capitalist profits, it is exploited, depleted and dispossessed to the point of crisis in what is now debated as the Anthropocene. How does capital discipline human and non-human nature in the name of efficiency? What are the alternatives and collective mobilizations that counter such expropriatory processes? What may a democratic politics of justice for more-than-human nature encompass?
course aims to enhance students' innate capacity for critical thinking and reflection in the study of ‘nature.’ Throughout the course, there will be a lot of emphasis on reading, critical thinking, class participation and presentations. Students will be expected to read attentively, ask questions related to the readings and engage with course materials in class discussions. This will deepen respect for everyone's views and intellectual inputs (no matter how different) with a measure of self-reflexivity and intellectual curiosity. The fieldtrip will further enhance the comprehension of connections between complex theory and empirical reality.
Assignments and Grading:
Overall grade break-up:
Absences and Late Assignments:
Attendance for each class and tutorial will be marked. The class attendance policy is strict, with grade points deducted for inadequate attendance. If for any pressing reason such as illness a student is unable to attend a class, or turn in an assignment on the due date, the student must consult the instructor beforehand for permission to do so.
Students must be careful in observing all instructions carefully and any form of academic misconduct, such as cheating and plagiarism is unacceptable. Such misconduct undermines student learning and integrity, as well as the integrity of the classroom and the University as an institution. Learning how to cite appropriately is crucial to writing well. There will be detailed discussions on citation practices during tutorials. For any further clarifications and questions regarding citation practices, students must consult the instructor before turning in take-home assignments. All assignments will be checked for plagiarism with tracking software.
Module 1: Nature, Culture and Perception
Nature is commonly assumed as external to human society. Implicit in this binary is the division between human and non-human nature. This module introduces and troubles commonly assumed binaries between 'nature' and 'society' and focuses on their relationality. Starting with Sherry Ortner's use of simile between nature/ female and culture/ male; we will cover recent concerns from environmental sociology and anthropology that reference 'the inseparability of nature and society,' and forward theses for an 'ecology of life.'
Module 2: Science, Technology and Discipline
Social perspectives on (human and non-human) nature have influenced scientific knowledge and studies profoundly. How does science construct nature and what does this tell us in turn about the social construction of science? This module introduces science and technology studies and interrogates the scientific analysis of nature, including powerful disciplinary apparatuses deployed to discipline the human body.
Module 3: Capital, Value and Nature
disciplining of nature has complemented the development of capitalism. The industrial revolution not only revolutionized production and the exploitation of 'resources' to serve markets and profits, but also created a regime of 'value.' How does capitalism value nature? This module discusses the harnessing of nature for capitalist markets and its social and environmental implications.
Module 5: Justice for the Anthropocene
As the profound impact of human interventions reveals itself in environmental crises and climate change, scientists debate that we have passed from the Holocene epoch of the past 10,000 years to the Anthropocene—humans have now become the single most powerful species with planetary force. What are the concerns of contemporary climate or environmental justice movements and how do these resonate with concerns regarding social justice? Can we think of a democratic politics for the Anthropocene? This module brings together the learnings from the course by focusing on ways in which various actors have articulated social and environmental justice.