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IR3026   Trauma, Time and Memory in the Politics of Colonialism and Climate Emergency

Academic year(s): 2024-2025

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 30

ECTS credits : 15

Level : SCQF level 9

Semester: 1

Planned timetable: Monday 2pm - 3pm

The acknowledgement at the 2022 COP 27 meeting of a relationship between colonialism and climate change represents a reorientation in global politics to the impact of unacknowledged historical traumas on the present and future of the planet. This module explores what is at stake in a shift of emphasis from conflict between states to the relationship between past practices and present and future environmental threats to the planet as a whole.It will critically examine the implications for how we conceptualize trauma, time and memory and the difference between a focus on states, protecting their boundaries, and empires as systems of entangled relations, where the suffering of some is rendered unseen; the extent to which historical trauma bleeds into the present, shaping the political uses of memory in a context of climate emergency; as well as how we might move beyond this legacy toward a more sustainable way of living together on the planet.

Relationship to other modules

Pre-requisite(s): Before taking this module you must pass IR2006

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact: I lecture, 1 tutorial per week

Scheduled learning hours: 35

Guided independent study hours: 260

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews: 3-hour Written Examination = 50%, Coursework = 50%

Re-assessment: 3-hour Written Examination =100%


Module coordinator: Professor K M Fierke
Module teaching staff: Prof K M Fierke

Intended learning outcomes

  • understand the relationship between colonialism in the past and climate emergency in the present and future
  • understand the relationship between practices of past empires and states in the present;
  • understand the relationship between trauma, time and memory as they relate to socio-political phenomena in the past and present;
  • understand the historical relationship between dispossession, land and children within empire;
  • understand what it means to say that experiences of historical trauma ‘bleed’ into the present, and, a future for children;
  • understand different approaches to addressing the legacy of the past in the present.