Environment, human security, and conflict (2022)

POLS3033 week 1 video playlist

This course examines the linkages between environmental phenomena, human economic, political, and physical security, and violent political conflict. The prevalence of international and civil conflicts associated with control of (or access to) natural resources (e.g. water, food, energy resources), has exposed the tensions between traditional notions of security and human-centred security concerns.

Students conduct in-depth analyses of cases of environmental conflicts around the world in order to identify the key actors, their projected values and interests, as well as the implications of different alternatives. While the course highlights the politics behind conflicts, it includes contributions from other disciplines and fields. 

Below is a copy of the current course syllabus, a brief substantive outline, and links to the weekly course material (lecture videos, slides, notes, and workshop activities).

Do let me know if you have any questions about any of this class’s material or topics!

Section 1Defining terms, actors, and interests
Week 1Introduction, course overview, and conflict
Week 2Economic development and economic stability
Week 3Political institutions and instability
Week 4Environmental change and scarcity
Section 2Causes of conflict
Week 5Population
Week 6Migration
Week 7Water
Week 8Food
Week 9Natural resources
Week 10Natural disasters
Section 3Policy responses
Week 11Domestic responses
Week 12International responses
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