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FAK3124 Political Ecology 7.5 credits

Course offering missing for current semester as well as for previous and coming semesters
Headings with content from the Course syllabus FAK3124 (Spring 2019–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

The course explores the interdisciplinary field of Political Ecology. Political Ecology is a theoretical and methodological approach to the study of socio-ecological systems that focuses on conflict, power relationships and the unequal distribution of environmental costs and benefits. It seeks to “politicize” debates about environmental problems, and stands in contrast to apolitical ecologies that explain environmental issues in terms of universal, biophysical, or human-behavioural drivers.

Each session of this course will focus on a different key concept of political ecology, and use a case-study article to illustrate how this concept is “put to work” in a real case.

Sessions will follow a seminar format with a combination of teaching by the instructor and discussion in class of assigned readings. For each session students will read two articles. Typically one of them will be theoretical, presenting the main concept to be discussed in that session, and the second will include a case-study.

Students are expected to write short commentaries on the text in advance. A group of two students will be responsible for synthesizing the commentaries of the week at the beginning of the class. A discussion of the key ideas of the articles will take place under the facilitation of the instructor. This might also include discussion in small groups, games, use of audiovisual material, etc. 

Intended learning outcomes

This course intends to offer a global overview of the current ecological crisis in its multiple dimensions: politico-economic, cultural and epistemological, and governmental. Students will learn about the historical processes which led to the current crisis, as well as the diversity of implications that environmental problems pose to different social groups in different geo-historical contexts (viz. environmental inequalities), while also engaging with their trans-scalar nature and global implications. The ultimate scope of the course is for students to acquire the ability to develop new and imaginative ways of conceptualizing nature/society relationships in different geo-political and cultural contexts, in order to contribute to the formulation of more inclusive and socially just environmental policies. The course will familiarize students with the key concepts and tools used by political ecologists and help students conduct political ecological research.

Course disposition

No information inserted

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

Eligible applicants are students who meet the requirements for admission to graduate studies in history or other humanities and social sciences.

Recommended prerequisites

No information inserted


No information inserted


Course literature will be announced about one month before the course starts.

Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

P, F


  • UPP1 - Essay, 7.5 credits, grading scale: P, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

No information inserted

Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

No information inserted


Profile picture Sverker Sörlin

Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course web

Further information about the course can be found on the Course web at the link below. Information on the Course web will later be moved to this site.

Course web FAK3124

Offered by

ABE/History of Science, Technology and Environment

Main field of study

This course does not belong to any Main field of study.

Education cycle

Third cycle

Add-on studies

No information inserted


Marco Armiero,

Postgraduate course

Postgraduate courses at ABE/History of Science, Technology and Environment