ANTH2702 Environment, Power and Disasters in Asia

6 points
(see Timetable)
Non-standard teaching periodHong KongFace to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 option in the Anthropology and Sociology; Asian Studies; CHNSI Chinese Studies; CHNSA Chinese Studies; INDNI Indonesian Studies; JPNSI Japanese Studies major sequences
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Society and Culture
  • Category A broadening unit for Bachelor of Arts students where relevant according to the broadening requirements for each student
  • Level 2 elective
Resource politics has emerged as one of the fundamental foci of debate in Asia today. This unit contextualises contemporary issues and conflicts over land, water and other environmental resources. Students examine the discursive and practical aspects of contemporary debates concerning particular environments and environmental disasters in Asia, including those influenced by climate change. Topics covered may include state and religious ideologies about the environment, local environmental knowledge, current controversies surrounding the imposition of national parks on lands of local peoples, climate change, dam constructions, forest conservation, industrial agriculture such as oil palm plantations, mining, industrial pollution, land and marine use and other issues of contemporary environmental impact in a globalising world. The unit also aims to familiarise students with the discourses and practices of environmentalism in Asia. In treating such topics the unit not only develops an awareness of the dimensions and processes involved in specifically Asian contexts, but also fosters a critical evaluation of larger theoretical perspectives such as cultural and political ecology and sustainable development.
Students are able to (1) demonstrate critical knowledge of debates and discourses surrounding contemporary environmental issues in Asia, as this region is affected by globalisation; assess the assumptions of diverse attitudes toward the environment; and demonstrate an understanding of the complexities of environmental transformations and human–environment interactions in postcolonial Asia; (2) demonstrate 'ethical sensitivity towards our diverse and globalised world', particularly in relation to decisions regarding deployment and conservation of natural resources; (3) demonstrate an ability to critically review, analyse, sumarise and synthesise theoretical and academic literature on the environment in Asia; demonstrate an ability to respond more incisively to statements made in media and other public sources concerning environmental issues; (4) demonstrate an ability to formulate, investigate and discuss research questions informed by an interdisciplinary literature on the environment in Asia and develop arguments based on a critical evaluation of evidence; and (5) demonstrate an ability to communicate anthropological and sociological ideas, principles and knowledge to specialist and non-specialist audiences using a range of formats (written, oral, visual etc.).
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) tutorial participation; (2) written work; and (3) in-class exercise. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Rita Armstrong
Unit rules
a Level 1 ANTH or ASIA unit or ENSC1001 Global Challenges in Engineering
SOCS2220 Environmental Issues in Asia
Contact hours
up to 3 hours per teaching week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.