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IR5418   Critical Climate Justice

Academic year(s): 2024-2025

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 30

ECTS credits : 15

Level : SCQF level 11

Semester: 2

Planned timetable: Mondays 2.00pm-4.00pm

This module aims to give students a critical theoretical understanding and practical analysis of the meaning and significance of climate justice within the international system. The module will examine the impact of historic, and ongoing, colonialism upon the climate crisis, outlining the ways in which marginalised communities have been, and continue to be, impacted by environmental change. It will trace the roots of the environmental and climate justice movements, outlining the ways in which resistance to neoliberal governance frameworks has developed, as well as the key actors moving forward. In addition, the module will consider the meaning and politics of a 'just' transition; the problems with neoliberal sustainability narratives, and the ways in which anti-racist education connects to climate justice learning. This module will be of interest to critical theorists, to those with an interest in policy, as well as to those aiming for a place in the world as a practitioner.

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact: 1 x 2 hour seminar (11 weeks), 1 x 2 hour film showing (x 3 weeks)

Scheduled learning hours: 28

Guided independent study hours: 275

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews: 100% Coursework

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


Module coordinator: Professor A M S Watson
Module teaching staff: Prof Ali Watson

Intended learning outcomes

  • Understand climate justice from a critical perspective and how it relates to wider theoretical schemas - both non-Western and Western.
  • Understand the varying definitions of, and theoretical approaches to, climate justice, and critically analyse their context and impacts.
  • Consider the parameters of climate change research and how these might impact justice narratives.
  • Explain the ways in which the climate justice movement is related to other justice movements, e.g. racial justice, disability justice, gender justice etc.
  • Critically examine climate change within its historical context, including an understanding of colonialism, capitalism, and white supremacy.