GY328      Half Unit
Political Ecology of Development

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Kasia Paprocki


This course is available on the BA in Geography, BSc in Economic History and Geography, BSc in Environment and Development, BSc in Environmental Policy with Economics and BSc in Geography with Economics. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

Course content

This course explores the complex relationships between development, poverty and the environment. It covers a range of important natural resource and environmental issues, and provides students with the necessary tools to critically evaluate how these issues have been addressed by different stakeholders and at different levels of governance. Using concepts and analytical tools grounded in political ecology and critical development studies, the course examines several topics, including: the politics of sustainable development; environmental governance and tenure; and critical resource issues.


In the Department of Geography and Environment, teaching will be delivered through a combination of classes/seminars, pre-recorded lectures, live online lectures and other supplementary interactive live activities.

This course takes place in Michaelmas Term only. It includes a reading week in Week 6.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce one formative essay plan in the Michaelmas Term.

Indicative reading

Li, T (2007) The Will to Improve, Durham: Duke University Press.

Robbins, P (2012) Political Ecology: A Critical Introduction, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

West, P (2006) Conservation is Our Government Now: The Politics of Ecology in Papua New Guinea. Durham: Duke University Press.

Curley, A (2021) "Resources is just another word for colonialism." In M. Himley, E. Havice, & G. Valdivia (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Critical Resource Geography (pp. 79-89). London: Routledge.

Sealey-Huggins, L. (2018) "'The Climate Crisis is a Racist Crisis': Structural Racism, Inequality and Climate Change." In A. Johnson, R. Joseph-Salisbury, & B. Kamunge (Eds.), The Fire Now: Anti-Racist Scholarship in Times of Explicit Racial Violence (pp. 99-113). London: Zed Books.


Essay (100%, 3000 words) in the MT.

Student performance results

(2019/20 - 2021/22 combined)

Classification % of students
First 44.9
2:1 38.8
2:2 12.2
Third 2
Fail 2

Key facts

Department: Geography and Environment

Total students 2021/22: 35

Average class size 2021/22: 12

Capped 2021/22: No

Lecture capture used 2021/22: Yes (MT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills