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Environmental Studies

That every student must take some course in Environmental Studies is mandated by the UGC and, we think, for good reasons. At Ashoka, we are convinced that being exposed to and engaging with issues having to do with the role human beings play in our shared environment is an important part of every student’s education. This course will look at a variety of issues from climate change and species extinction, to socio-economic responsibilities and environmental justice, to address the fundamental question of how do we live at peace with nature. 

Department: Environmental Studies | Semester: Monsoon 2021

Any environmental issue is invariably about society and politics.  From global warming to garbage on city streets, nature and culture lie at the centre of competing claims about what should be done.  To understand these processes of ‘socio-nature’, we need to focus on social inequality as well as biological complexity.  This course looks at how biophysical processes in natural landscapes are changed by the cultural geography of capitalism, colonialism, caste and nationalism.  We will analyse environmental crises and explore how collective action can lead to ecological justice.

Department: Environmental Studies | Semester: Monsoon 2021

This course offers an overview of the interrelationship between environment, development and climate change. It examines various concepts and components of ecosystem and biosphere, and diverse ways in which human-non human lives exist, cooperate and compete with each other. It traces the history of development through different phases of human-nature correlation and explains how theories, practices and questions of globalisation, sustainability, transition, inter-generational equity, gender, health, disasters and green growth have important bearings on our understanding of ecology in present times. In this course, environment and development are also inferred in the context of climate change. It analyses not only how development has led to climate change, but also how climate change is defining our development, which incorporates socio-economic distribution of impacts and burden, energy and carbon emissions, politics of climate change and justice, and alternatives of renewable energy and sustainable transition.

Department: Environmental Studies | Semester: Monsoon and Spring 2021

The global focus on economic growth and development has led us onto a path which might not be sustainable in the near future. Growing scientific evidence now suggests that the Earth’s systems may not be able to cope with the growing demands imposed on them.  This situation has created an urgent need to critically examine environmental issues from a variety of perspectives. There is also a need to inculcate holistic thinking that includes concerns of social equity, and economic and ecological sustainability. This course will discuss some of the current concerns about the environment such as climate change, species extinction  and pollution with a view to creating an in-depth understanding and engendering a multidisciplinary (and critical) perspective on them. The course will be taught using a combination of lectures, films, slide-talks, discussions and group projects to encourage debate in class.

Department: Environmental Studies | Semester: Spring 2022

Environment has become an important area of interactions between society, politics, economy and culture. This foundation course will focus on diverse sets of social, economic and cultural values and political, ideological and religious views expressed through environment. The course will discuss how ecological issues are understood in different political and economic systems, ideologies and institutions. In turn, the political, ideological and social essence of ecological problems is manifested by deeply contrasting visions of what structuring society according to nature might mean. Taking a historical approach, the course will strengthen the interaction of natural and social sciences in understanding contemporary environmental politics. The course will give close attention to some prominent environmental and social movements in India, which will significantly enhance the knowledge about new developments in environment/politics/society interface.

Study at Ashoka

Study at Ashoka