Environment, Culture and Climate Change

The details
Sociology and Criminology
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 5
Monday 06 January 2025
Friday 21 March 2025
10 May 2024


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

Contemporary debates about climate change, concerns about the degradation of the environment, threats to biodiversity and the concomitant challenges to human health and well-being have placed the natural environment – non-human nature – at the centre of political deliberation and campaigning, both nationally and internationally. The module will explore the links between a growing consciousness of the natural environment fostered by policy makers, environmental and conservation organisations, writers, academics and the everyday feelings about and engagement with the environment by a lay public.

The module introduces a range of critical attempts to theorize the natural world, ‘society and environment’ relations and natural relations more broadly. It covers the debates about wilderness, national parks, natural heritage, access to the countryside and the moral geographies of recreations and landscape. It also considers recent work on human and non-human animal relations, extinction, the new nature writing, rewilding and wildlife TV.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To develop an understanding of competing theorizations of society and environment relations.

  • To develop an understanding of natural relations and human/animal relations.

  • To explore the place of landscape in national cultures and the moral geographies of landscape use.

  • To explore different traditions and genres of environmental writing.

  • To explore environmental protest and the environmentalism of the poor and the ‘ecology of affluence’.

  • To develop an understanding of extinction and its emotional dimensions.

  • To develop an understanding of conservation and rewilding strategies.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Ability to critically assess different theories of nature and ‘society and environment’ relations.

  2. Ability to apply ideas of the cultural landscape and the concept of moral geographies.

  3. Ability to understand and use social science, natural science, and humanities perspectives on the environment.

  4. Ability to understand and critically assess the histories of environmental protest in the West and Global South.

  5. Ability to understand and evaluate the representation of the natural world in wildlife film and TV.

  6. Ability to critically assess different kinds of environmental and nature writing.

Module information

  • Topic 1: Contested Natures

  • Topic 2: More than Human Worlds

  • Topic 3: Conservation and the Environment

  • Topic 4: Moral Geographies and the Countryside

  • Topic 5: Environmental Movements

  • Topic 6: Extinction and Environmental Crisis

  • Topic 7: Television and the Natural World

  • Topic 8: The New Nature Writing: Human Feeling and the Environment

  • Topic 9: Rewilding

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  1. One 2-hour weekly seminar.

This will be taught face-to-face. You are strongly encouraged to attend the seminars as they provide an opportunity to talk with your class teacher and other students. The seminars will be captured and available via Listen Again. However, if you want to gain the most you can from these seminars it is very important that you attend and engage.

In addition to your timetabled hours for this module, you should aim to spend up to eight hours per week undertaking your own private study (reading, preparing for classes or assignments).


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Group Presentation    10% 
Coursework   Essay 1    50% 
Coursework   Essay 2    40% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Sean Nixon, email:
Professor Sean Nixon



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.


Further information
Sociology and Criminology

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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