July 7, 2017

Sustainable Consumption and Production in the Global South

Sustainable Consumption and Production in the Global South, University of Manchester (since 2016)

  • Program name: Geography (BA/BSc) – 2nd Year Optional Course Unit. Can be taken by Human/Physical Geography and non-Geography students.
  • Lecturer name: Alison Browne
  • Dates: First offered 2016/2017 academic year – ongoing
  • Length and format: One semester (10 teaching weeks with contact hours). 2 hour lecture + 1 hour seminar per week. Mix of online and offline. Formative feedback sessions x 2. Course size = approximately 140 students
  • Associated credits and evaluation: 20 course units (120 per year). Assessments: 50% Group work policy brief on contemporary SCP issue; 50% Exam (2x essay questions)
  • Towards what degree: Bachelor (BA/BSc) – Geography (optional); optional course unit for any non-Geography UoM students
  • Mandatory: Elective
  • Background on teacher(s): Convenor: Human Geography/Environmental Social Scientist; . Guest lecturers: Mike Hodson – Urban Studies/Urban Geography, Jessica Paddock – Sociologist, Filippo Menga – Geographer; Teaching Assistant (Cecilia Alda Vidal 2017 – Geography/Development Professional)
  • Course duration: 1 year
  • General aims of the course:
    • A general introduction to the field of sustainable consumption and production (SCP) with an emphasis on the “Global South” drawing on a wide range of human geographical and interdisciplinary literature – from everyday geographies through to political ecology
    • To provide opportunities to link theoretical debates with real life examples/policy problems
    • To encourage critical reflections on the ways in which we can ‘intervene’ with SCP, and the role of different actors that shape this
  • Intended learning outcomes:
    • Be able to identify key debates in geography and related disciplines about sustainability, sustainable consumption and production (SCP), sustainable development
    • Show understanding of the diverse ways in which SCP plays out across different spaces and scales, including peoples’ everyday lives, infrastructures, governance, policy, nation states
    • Have an awareness of the diversity and scale of the development challenges related to SCP
    • Have developed skills in researching real world policy problems, and linking them to theoretical debates
  • Topics addressed in the course:
    • LECTURE 1 Introducing and Framing SCP: Recent Theoretical and Policy Perspectives on SCP
    • LECTURE 2 Theorising Governance of SCP: histories and critiques of the governance of SCP, theoretical frameworks
    • LECTURE 3 Global Histories of Consumption and Production
    • LECTURE 4 Beyond Sustainable Cities? The future of the city in reshaping sustainable production and consumption
    • LECTURE 5 WASH: Everyday landscapes of Water, Hygiene and Sanitation
    • LECTURE 6 Food: Growing, Eating, Cooking
    • STUDY WEEK
    • LECTURE 7 Water Mega-Infrastructures: Building Dams, Building Nations
    • LECTURE 8 Energy: Energy Efficiency, Infrastructures and Everyday Life
    • STUDY WEEK
    • LECTURE 9 Critiquing Consumption and the Consumer: ethical consumption, introduction to the circular economy
    • LECTURE 10 Conclusions: From the everyday to the infrastructural – can consumption and production be sustainable? Summary and Exam preparation.
  • Key reading materials: No set text. 2-3 key references per week.
  • Types of assignments:
    • Coursework: Policy Briefing on a contemporary SCP issue, small group coursework
    • Exam: 2 x exam essays, 2 hour exam
  • Innovative approaches: Applied research projects (group work policy brief); guest speakers; in lecture case studies to apply theory to practical examples; debates; applying methodologies (e.g., follow the thing) to reflect on theoretical development; podcasts explaining key terms.
  • Student feedback & response: Given the breadth of theoretical and substantive topics the students do find it challenging. However, they performed exceptionally well in coursework and exam assessment. The group work although challenging was reflected upon by the students as a positive and effective learning experience.
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