This course interrogates established understandings of the socio-ecological worlds we inhabit. It examines nature not as an empty stage upon which events happen but as a deeply contested field. Adopting an interdisciplinary perspective, the course is divided into three parts. The first, considers the affirmation of Western ideas and practices of nature as external environment, source of norms, and resource to appropriate. The second looks at how ideas of nature are intertwined with understandings of race, gender and sexuality. The third part asks how hegemonic understandings of nature inform current debates about the environmental crisis - including the Anthropocene master narrative - and what practices and modes of knowledge production might provide alternatives. Overall this course explores how prevalent concepts of nature have come into being and how they might be thought otherwise. This course will be taught in English. Reading materials and assignments will be in French.
1) Introduction: course objectives and definitions of key concepts, modern nature, pre-modern nature and alter-modern nature.
2) Western modernity and the material world: nature as external environment; nature as source of norms; nature as resource, property and commodity.
3) The politics of nature, race and gender.
4) Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Plantationocene; environmental justice and socio-ecological care.
5) More-than-human methodologies for the environmental humanities