FUNDAMENTALS (21 ECTs)
October – January (15 weeks / 100 hrs)
Module 1: Theoretical and Conceptual Foundations of Degrowth
6 ECTS, 30 hours
What is degrowth (Federico Demaria, Francois Schneider, Filka Sekulova)
This course will lay out the theoretical foundations of degrowth, surveying various contributions from various schools of thought. We will discuss writings of the French authors writing in the field of anti-utilitarianism, critics of development and progress (Latouche, Aries, Mauss.), as well as the conceptual foundations of degrowth related to the notions of voluntary simplicity, ecology, deepening democracy, decoloniality, social and biophysical limits to growth. The course will include interactive and deliberative workshops as well as field visits where some of the theoretical concepts studied in class are used as a source of inspiration for practical applications.
Evaluation: A two hour sit-in exam in the last class where students will have to answer a question relating to the content of the course. The students will have to write a 1,000 words essay, responding to the question and explaining their answer. They will write their exams with their own laptops, and with access to internet. The exams will be graded by the coordinator of the module
Module 2: Environmental Justice: Origins, Theory, Issues and Movements
6 ECTS, 30 hours
1.- Urban Environmental Justice (Isabelle Anguelovski) 15 hours
This course lays the foundation for some of the key themes in environmental justice, including origins and theories of environmental justice. The course addresses specific topics such as urban environmental justice, relationship between gentrification and social classes, health and greening of cities.
2.- Environmental Justice and Introduction to the EJ Atlas (Beatriz Rodriguez-Labajos, Joan Martinez-Alier) 15 hours
The course focusses on the study of the rise of the global movement for environmental justice, and issues of environmental justice in natural resource management. It presents the Environmental Justice Atlas as a tool to address and give concrete visibility to these themes and finally deals with conflicts on access to different types of ecosystem services
1) For the first part of the module, the students will work in groups of three to make a short oral presentation (15 minutes) at the last class (40% of grade). The presentation should respond to the following questions:
a. What are the most acute types of environmental inequalities have you encountered in your work or research? What have been some of the most innovative solutions developed to address them?
b. Do you agree with the fact that environmental restoration and physical upgrading will eventually increase social and racial inequality locally and through the city? Think about the variety of cities you are familiar with. Reflect on the urban changes in those places.
c. What type of policies and initiatives can, in your views, tamper the rise of social problems and conflicts that arise from environmental restoration and physical upgrading? Be as specific and concrete as possible (do not only mention general housing policies or tax scheme. Be creative and detailed in your proposal)
d. Can (1) planners, (2) architects, and (3) community groups help address the potential negative mid-term effect of revitalization and upgrading? Think about the three different stakeholders and justify your response.
The presentation will be evaluated by the module coordinator who will be present and grade the students after each talk.
2) Individual reaction paper (20%) on chosen group of readings positioning oneself within one of the key debates of the readings and in relation to an EJ Atlas or urban environmental justice case study (1,000-1,500 words). Graded by teachers of the course.
3) A report/entry of an environmental conflict in the EJ Atlas by each student, supplemented with a form on the use of cultural and artistic manifestations in the conflicts (40%). This will require interaction with bibliographic, hemerographic and graphic documentation, existing online resources, and possibly interaction with the actors involved in the case. The report will be submitted to the teacher of the EJ Atlas who will evaluate and grade the quality of each entry.
Module 3: Political Ecology and Degrowth Economics
9 ECTS 40 hours
1.- Political Ecology (Marta Conde, Diego Andreucci) 20 hours
The course offers a critical introduction to Political Ecology, the study of ecological distribution conflicts and the ways in which power affects access over resources as well as opportunities for human-centred development. Drawing from a range of approaches—particularly, ecological economics, post- structuralism and neo-Marxism—the course will examine key concepts and theoretical frameworks that underlie the contemporary critique of development and growth.
2.- Degrowth Economics (Giorgos Kallis, Salvador Pueyo) 20 hours
An introduction to the classics and foundational texts of ecological economics, followed by a discussion of political economy, and their application to the understanding of the growth process, and contemporary debates about degrowth.
Evaluation: A three-hours exam, where the students will be asked to respond to 4 questions from the course, each response up to 250 words long. The exam will consist of statements relating to the content of the class. In two of those the students will have to declare whether they are right or wrong, and in two whether they agree or disagree, explaining why. The responses will be graded by the teachers of the module