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Graduate Study in Political Ecology

By definition, political ecology requires an interdisciplinary outlook and an interest in theoretical synthesis. There are a number of courses that can meet the needs of students with an interest in this theoretical approach. Typically, all scales of inquiry, from the local to the global, are addressed. Students in all four degrees sponsored by CEEP may develop specializations in this topic.

Processes of Social Inquiry
The values, purposes and paradigms of inquiry are examined in this doctoral seminar with the aim of understanding the possibilities and limits of institutionalized thinking and research. Can inquiry enhance and harm the human and ecological prospect? In what sense and under what social conditions can inquiry further independent, creative thought? In which circumstances can inquiry reinforce bias, class interests and state and corporate power? These and other questions are pursued.

Technology, Environment and Society Seminar
The interrelationships of technology, environment and society are the focus of this doctoral seminar. Over the last two centuries, forces of industrialization and urbanization have transformed economic, social and political life, and the natural environment. A range of theories is examined which seek to explain and assess these transformations, including those of Marx, Mumford, Ellul, and Shiva. The aim of the seminar is to foster the development of critical perspectives on social and environmental transformation.

International Perspectives on
Energy and Environmental Policy
This course analyzes the international aspects of energy and environment as they interact with: politics, society, economics, technology and resources. The course focuses on interrelationships among energy, environment and development from international perspectives. It considers various energy and environmental policy alternatives and how they may or may not contribute to a sustainable world.

Political Economy of the Environment
Relations between societies and nature are, and have always been, complex. But contemporary relations and their manifestations, such as acid rain, urban air pollution, deforestation, thinning of the upper atmospheric ozone layer, endangered species, threats to biodiversity, and the prospect of global warming, are raising concerns that fundamental problems in society-nature relations exist. This course reviews several theories and policy orientations ranging from Neo-Malthusianism to ecological economics and eco-Marxism. Policy case studies covering such issues as Environmental Justice, Environment and Public Health, Trade and the Environment, Global Climate Change, and Sustainable Development are used to evaluate the current range of political-economic explanations of nature-society relations.

Readings in the Political Economy of
Energy and Environment
Advanced readings in political economy and political ecology are used in this tutorial to examine key theoretical and conceptual problems in current energy-environment-society relationships. These include: the prospect of climate change, the “normal” pollution/ “normal” accident issue, growth-oriented versus democratic economies, the over- consumption and over-production theses, and environmental commodification.

Readings in Sustainable Development
This tutorial provides a comprehensive survey of the debate over the concept of sustainable development and its adequacy to address global and regional issues. Readings include historical and contemporary discussions of the concept, proposals for a theory and policy of sustainable development, and critiques of certain globalization tendencies resident in the idea.

Readings in Postmodernism and Environmentalism
Newly emerging theories and discourses in environmentalism are a response the debate over modernity. This course explores the implications of theories about modernity for environmental thought, and the philosophies and politics of the production of an emerging discourse, that of postmodern environmentalism. Themes covered include modernity, ecological modernization, eco-Marxism, the theory, concepts, and influence of postmodernity, constructivism, discourse analysis, and postmodern environmentalism.

Correspondence Information:
Center for Energy Environmental Policy
University of Delaware - 278 Graham Hall - Newark, Delaware 19716
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