Anthropology and Sustainability: Contemporary Fault Lines


About this course

Sustainability has become a vantage point for addressing, debating, and negotiating multiple challenges of the contemporary world, such as climate change, environmental pollution or inequalities. This course will unpack ‘sustainability’ as a contested terrain where scientific expertise, political agendas and mobilisations, and the everyday confront each other on multiple levels. The key topics covered in this module focus on waste and value, global/local food regimes, the social aspects of infrastructures, contestations around fossil and renewable energy, and the politics of sustainability. To address these topics, we will primarily draw on ethnographic material to make us aware how the discourses on sustainability shape and are shaped by different actors in the context of everyday life.

This course will develop students’ awareness of the strengths and limitations of anthropological perspectives on sustainability, and more generally how these influence larger debates on the anthropological study of economy, politics, environmentalism, globalisation, and citizenship. The course will combine lectures, section meetings, excursions and practical assignments to equip students with analytical vocabulary and skills to critically engage with the burning issues of sustainability in the contemporary world.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course students are able to: Understand and explain the notion of sustainability and related concepts from an anthropological perspective. Apply an anthropological understanding of sustainability and related concepts on their own surroundings. Apply the concept sustainability and others to understand empirical case-studies and non-academic texts in an academic paper. Analyze academic and societal debates about sustainability and develop a sound critical and scientific position of their own.

Required prior knowledge

You must meet the following requirements

Link to more information

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  • Start date

    3 February 2025

    • Ends
      18 April 2025
    • Term *
      Period 3
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    • Register between
      4 Nov, 08:00 - 22 Nov 2024
    Enrolment starts in 163 days
These offerings are valid for students of TU Eindhoven