Below is a description of some of the courses that I have taught
Decolonising and Diversifying Knowledge
MSc-level, University of Vienna, Department of Geography and Regional Research, Fall semester 2021/22.
14 1,5-hour sessions. Course and content designed by me.
In Western higher education, we tend to think of cartesian scientific reasoning as beyond comparison, suggesting that any other forms of knowledge and knowledge finding are beliefs or cultural traditions, rather than counterpart – and equal – epistemic communities. The purpose of this course is to understand how different ways of seeing the world can enrich the way that we approach environmental change, policy and meaning-making, and why decolonising knowledge is not just a question of equity, but also a way to improve outcomes in science and policy. Rather than suggesting that there is only one way to know the truth (how to research, what counts as knowledge), or one truth, we need to recognise multiple different models of the world. We will examine different examples set by the facilitator, and students (working individually, in pairs or small groups) will be required to bring examples to discuss according to the different themes. The types of questions we will address include ‘What can we learn about different conceptions of time?’, ‘Can you ask the same research question from different disciplinary perspectives?’, and ‘What are different understandings of wellbeing and why do they matter?’. The class emphasises the notion of ‘decolonising’ knowledge and will address this from different perspectives.
Social Dimensions of Climate Change in Developing Countries: Adaptation and Vulnerability
University of Oxford, Elective for MSc students, School of Geography and the Environment
6 2-hour sessions, max 12 students per year. Taught 3 times. Course and content designed by me.
Understanding how climate change affects society and what can be done about, is a key global political and scientific priority. A widely accepted narrative points to the poorest people as being the most adversely affected by climate change now and in the future, because they are the ‘most vulnerable’ to climate change. Decision makers are thus earmarking significant sums of money for implementing adaptation projects in developing countries. But there is far from a single scientific approach regarding how best to reduce vulnerability, let alone assess it through adaptation strategies, and policy and practice are frequently at odds with scientific understandings anyway. This elective focuses on the social dimensions of climate change impacts in developing countries, to examine who is most likely to be affected, how and why, as well as what the options are for responding. The purpose of this elective is to examine adaptation, vulnerability, resilience and disaster risk reduction – terms frequently thrown around in professional environment and development circles, but defined in multiple different ways – and to understand the scientific, as well as the policy debates.
Human Dimensions of Environmental Change
University of Oxford – Environmental Change and Management MSc, Michaelmas Term – Core Module in the ECM MSc – co-taught with Kate Raworth, School of Geography and the Environment
This module introduces relevant cross-cutting cognitive, social, economic, and human ecological concepts and frameworks, which can be applied in many different contexts – from academic research to action on the ground – in order to explore historical developments and address contemporary issues of wellbeing, power, resilience, and sustainability in an increasingly populous and globalised society. Using interactive approaches, we ask questions about the relationship between human systems and ecological systems, and how the complexity, diversity, stratification, and resource management of human societies shape their contributions and responses to critical environmental parameters and challenges.
Lectures taught: Framings and Worldviews, Power and Identity, Climate Justice, Introductory Lecture (Decolonising and Diversifying Knowledge in 2021)