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Global Development and Political Ecology

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NB! Language of instruction is English.

The course develops a critical framework for understanding uneven development including social justice and environmental change with a special focus on tracing global commodity chains and the rapid urbanisation of the global South. The course is fundamental for further studies in critical environmental research, sustainable development, and development studies.

In the course we will develop a theoretical framework based on three key concepts: uneven development, "thinking from the South," and political ecology. Political ecology emphasises how all development is about social and environmental transformation with winners and losers that shape rural and urban landscapes, locally and across the world. In parallel, we draw upon postcolonial thought to challenge from where development, sustainability and urbanization can be understood. This expands the places, experiences and researchers that can inform development theory and practice.

Pedagogically, the course is based on creating a community of inquiry between students and the teacher. Lectures are followed by group work as well as seminars and individual consultation hours with the teacher. This creates an intimate learning environment, making it safe to both ask and try to answer difficult questions. Group work means to either do a case study analysis of a city in the South (Kampala, Lagos, Luanda, Bangalore, etc.) or tracing the extraction of value across global commodity chains (soy bean, palm oil, litihium, wind & solar power etc.) and through this apply methods and theories to understand "messy realities" and sharing your insights. You will also train essay writing with feedback from peers and the teacher to support your growth as a writer and thinker.