Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

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Unit Overview


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.

6 points
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 elective

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.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

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.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.