The Human-Environment Nexus: Contemporary Issues & Critical Approaches - ANTS6210

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


This module emerges out of the fact that the human-environment nexus has, in recent years, become an area of intense debate and polarisation, both social and intellectual; a space in which many of the core categories within the natural and social sciences - be these the 'nature', ‘society’, ‘humanity’ or indeed ‘life’- are being reconsidered and reconfigured. By engaging with recent debates and case studies from different regions it seeks to critically assess, compare and contrast some of the key contemporary, at times controversial, debates that engage collaborators, colleagues and critics from diverse academic specialties and perspectives. Through the use of lectures, and student-led seminar discussions focused on specific papers and case studies, it seeks to review and compare some of the concepts and approaches used to research, analyse and theorise the intersecting and mutually constituting material, symbolic, historical, and political dimensions of human-plant and human-environment relations. It also seeks to assess how such an understanding can better guide our attempts to address the complex socio-environmental problems facing our world and our future by explicitly addressing the issue of complexity and scale, both in space and over time.


Contact hours

Private Study: 128
Contact Hours: 22
Total: 150


This module is:

Compulsory to the following course:
• BA Environment and Sustainability

Optional to the following courses:
• BSc Anthropology
• BSc Biological Anthropology
• BSc Human Geography, BSc Wildlife Conservation
• BA Environmental Social Science
• BA Social Anthropology

It is also available as an elective module

Method of assessment

Essay (3000 words) (60%)
Book Review (2000 words) (40%)

Both assessments must be passed to achieve the learning outcomes of this module

Reassessment: Like for like

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices.

The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages.

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate a sound understanding of a number of contemporary issue and debates relating to how the human-environment interface is understood and theorised.
2 Critically describe and comment on emerging approaches informing environmental and social anthropology, such as environmental humanities, post-humanism, the ontological turn, new animism studies, and the relationship between energy and society.
3 Think critically about and engage in-depth with a challenging range of perspectives that characterise the rapidly evolving fields of human ecology and environmental anthropology.
4 Understand in depth and critically reflect on the epistemic and methodological challenges of examining issues relating to human-environment relations, their dynamism and scale.
5 Apply meaningful insights and critical understanding in a manner that contributes to a more sophisticated and coherent understanding of the complex nature of todays' cascading socio-ecological crises.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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