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Decisions, Power and Controversies in Sustainable Development- Period 5 Honors Program Program Spring 2022 Semester - Amsterdam

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Decisions, Power and Controversies in Sustainable Development- Period 5

Decisions, Power and Controversies in Sustainable Development- Period 5 Course Overview


CEA Partner Institution: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Primary Subject Area: Sustainability
Instruction in: English
Course Code: AB_450258
Course Details: Level 300
Recommended Semester Credits: 1.5
Contact Hours: 42


Humanity deals with complex socio-environmental problems that impact the wellbeing of current and future generations. Nature and ecosystems globally are threatened and under suffering increasing deterioration. As students interested in the future of the planet and its inhabitants it is important to develop critical knowledge, understanding and perspectives about socio-environmental problems. In this course we will study alternative theories about the sustainability challenges that will allow you to think of socio-environmental problems critically and from different perspective. The course will explore the main sustainability dilemmas and the problems associated with the current system of economic development and mainstream decision making. We will deal with the political dimension of the environment and learn about how different theoretical perspective challenge the dominant paradigms. We will discuss and debate key sustainable development and socio-environmental problems such as environmental and water conflcits building on these different perspectives.

This course will be very intensive and concentrated in a short amount of time. We will spend an important amount of the course in the classroom and you will be required to study the readings to prepare for lectures and discussions. We will mix: frontal lectures, discussions and group activities.

The structure of each session consists of lectures at the start, where I will first highlight concepts and key questions related to the topics we are working on. We will then engage in-group discussions associated with the key issues addressed in each session. The group activities in class will include simulations and team assignments. Readings will be assigned for each session and it will be essential to be well prepared in order to successfully participate and address key questions that we will tackle.

Participation: Due to the complexity of the issues addressed and the concentrated length of the course I highly recommend attending every session. Of course, if you will have serious family or health reasons you can count on my help for making up for your absence and catching up, but otherwise it will really not be in your interest to miss classes. The amount of the material that we will go through and the very short time to prepare between the end of classes and the final exam will not allow you to be successful in this course if you procrastinate reading and if you don't participate.

I will lead group discussions on key questions related to the readings. To make the most of our time together, I will call on students directly to address specific question during the group discussion. I will apply the "Socratic method" and challenge you to defend your opinions. (This is a method that might seem a little intimidating, but is particularly useful to develop the capacity to debate publicly and defend your opinions - in line with the learning goals of the course.)

The main themes of the course will be:

Contact hours listed under a course description may vary due to the combination of lecture-based and independent work required for each course therefore, CEA's recommended credits are based on the ECTS credits assigned by VU Amsterdam. 1 ECTS equals 28 contact hours assigned by VU Amsterdam.

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