Attention: the admission period for the selection minoren is still open until today 23:59hrs (15 April 2024).

Political Ecologies: Nature, Humans and Non-Humans


About this course

This course will examine the relation between human and non-human worlds as an enduring question in anthropology. We will explore diverse ideas relating to the themes of “nature”, wilderness, “natural resources”, animalities, the environment and the state, and ecological justice. Against the current global environmental crisis, in which both human and non-human futures are deeply entangled and endangered, we consider what critical tools anthropology may offer for rethinking ethics and politics beyond the human. This includes exploring the politics of marking distinctions between the human and the non-human, as well as engaging themes of access, equity and justice with an emphasis on colonialism, race and political economy. Guided by ethnographic analysis, our studies will be in conversation with explorations of nature and the non-human in neighboring disciplines like philosophy, cultural studies, literature, psychology and feminist science and technology studies (STS).
Some of the questions we consider include: what does it mean to be “human” in the anthropocene? How did human and non-human futures come to be so deeply entangled and endangered? How does one rethink ideas of the “difference” between the human and the non-human? How can we think of more-than-human compositions and assemblages?
By focusing on the long disciplinary engagement with non-human worlds and entities in anthropology, we hope to better equip students to devise independent research projects on themes in environmental anthropology.

Learning outcomes

  • Teaching students use of anthropological and ethnographic methods for studying relations between human and non-human worlds
  • Understanding the political stakes of marking the difference between the human and the non-human.
  • Discussing how ‘nature’ is conceived as an object of study and an object of human intervention
  • Studying politics of the ‘anthropocene’ in light of questions around access, sustainability and economic inequality
  • Tracking how nature and non-human bodies figure in movements for political rights and entitlements.

Required prior knowledge

You must meet the following requirements

Link to more information

If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of Utrecht University.


  • Start date

    22 april 2024

    • Ends
      28 juni 2024
    • Term *
      Period 4
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    Currently no more seats available
These offerings are valid for students of TU Eindhoven