GY474      Half Unit
Politics of Environment and Development

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Kasia Paprocki and Dr Tanya Matthan


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Environment and Development and MSc in Environmental Policy, Technology and Health (Environment and Development) (LSE and Peking University). This course is available on the MSc in Development Management, MSc in Development Management (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Environmental Economics and Climate Change, MSc in Environmental Policy and Regulation, MSc in Environmental Policy, Technology and Health (Environmental Economics and Climate Change) (LSE and Peking University), MSc in Environmental Policy, Technology and Health (Environmental Policy and Regulation) (LSE and Peking University) and MSc in Urbanisation and Development. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

The number of students that can be accommodated is limited. If the course is over-subscribed, places will be allocated at the Department’s discretion and a waiting list may be created. For further details, please contact your relevant Programme Coordinator.

Course content

This course explores key themes at the intersection of development and environmental politics. Specifically, the course is centred on the applications of political ecology, critical development studies, and materialist human geography to topics in environment and development. In exploring the complex relationships between historical dynamics of development, inequality, and the environment, it covers a range of important natural resource and environmental issues, such as climate change, conservation, waste, and decolonizing environmental governance.


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


This course is delivered through a combination of seminars and lectures across Autumn Term.


This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Autumn Term. 

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 project in the AT.

Indicative reading


  • Li, T. M. (2007). The Will to Improve: Governmentality, Development, and the Practice of Politics. Durham: Duke University Press.
  • 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.
  • Brockway, L. (1979). Science and Colonial Expansion: The Role of the British Royal Botanic Gardens. American Ethnologist, 6(3), 449-465.
  • Collins, Y. A. (2019). Colonial residue: REDD+, territorialisation and the racialized subject in Guyana and Suriname. Geoforum, 106, 38-47.
  • Kashwan, P., Duffy, R., Massé, F., Asiyanbi, A. P., & Marijnen, E. (2021). From Racialized Neocolonial Global Conservation to an Inclusive and Regenerative Conservation. Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development, 63(4), 4-19.
  • Táíwò, O. m. O. (2022). Reconsidering Reparations. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Whyte, K. P. (2017). Indigenous Climate Change Studies: Indigenizing Futures, Decolonizing the Anthropocene. English Language Notes, 55(1-2), 153-162.


Essay (100%, 4000 words) in the WT.

Student performance results

(2019/20 - 2021/22 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 38.7
Merit 50.9
Pass 10.4
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Geography and Environment

Total students 2022/23: 70

Average class size 2022/23: 35

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Lecture capture used 2022/23: 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
  • Problem solving
  • Communication