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GLBL201 Cultures of the Environment

A critical examination of the concept of environment (nature) from a cross-cultural perspective, with focus on sustainability, environmental justice, and conservation.

Environmental challenges, from natural disasters to intensive farming, from genetic engineering to pollution, know no national boundaries. They call for global action. However, different cultures diverge, and even radically disagree, when it comes to respond to the environmental predicament of our age. The processes by which societies interpret, relate to and act in the environment are cultural transactions subject to political, social and economic contingencies. They require expertise from a variety of knowledge and cultural communities.

Drawing on the analytical tools developed in the humanities and social sciences, the paper provides the students with the interdisciplinary skills required to tackle the complexity of environmental crises. Students will critically interrogate diverse perspectives on contemporary environmental concerns by

  1. meeting with various stakeholders in the community;
  2. developing research projects of relevance to both the students and the community;
  3. team-work; and
  4. a sustained written self-reflection.

The paper complements majors and minors in Languages and Cultures, Philosophy, the Arts, Environmental Science, Law, Religion, Film and Media, History, Māori and Pacifica Studies, Gender and Social work, Geography, Food Science, Science Communication, Politics, Tourism, Commerce and other areas.

Paper title Cultures of the Environment
Paper code GLBL201
Subject Language and Culture
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period Second Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $886.35
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,766.35

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36 points
GLBL 301
Schedule C
Arts and Music
Suitable for students of all disciplines who seek to develop the ability to communicate effectively and appropriately in intercultural situations, be it at home or in international settings.
Teaching staff
Dr Cecilia Novero
Paper Structure
The paper covers the following key themes:
  • Three weeks of historical and theoretical background reading on the concepts of nature, culture and the environment cross-culturally.
  • Six weeks of engagement with distinct international cultural projects on the environment.
  • One week: One field-trip.
  • One week: Meetings in class or in a public venue with local artist/lecturer/volunteer/activist.
  • One week: Organisation and Execution of Research Project that culminates in a dossier.
  • Last week: Sharing of the dossier and/or final project
Teaching Arrangements

There are three lectures per week.

To be advised
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Environmental literacy, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
  • Demonstrate an understanding of fundamental concepts and principles of communication between people from different social and cultural backgrounds.
  • Generate insights into social, cultural and historical dimensions of cultural and subcultural groups around the world.
  • Reflect critically upon the influence of your own culture on how you view yourself and others.
  • Compare communication behaviour, verbal and nonverbal, of different cultural groups and interpret the behaviour through culture.
  • Apply knowledge and skills to demonstrate autonomy, expert judgement, adaptability, and responsibility as an effective and ethical communicator across multiple cultural contexts.
  • Demonstrate an ability to acquire, organise, analyse and evaluate and present information.

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Second Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Wednesday 09:00-09:50 28-34, 36-41
Friday 11:00-12:50 28-34, 36-41