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GLBL301 Cultures of the Environment (Advanced)

An advanced 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. These require that careful attention be given to diverse kinds and forms of knowledge and cultural communities

Drawing on the analytical tools developed in the humanities, 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. undertaking different kinds of reading and writing exercises (including but not limited to the sharing of blogs, journals, and 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 (Advanced)
Paper code GLBL301
Subject Global Studies
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period Second Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $904.05
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,954.75

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72 points
GLBL 201
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

Associate Professor Cecilia Novero

Paper Structure

The paper covers the following key themes, although the time framework may vary:

  1. In the first weeks we introduce key terms through theoretical background readings on the concepts of nature, culture and the environment.

  2. Most of the semester will then be spent on the investigation of international case studies — taken from the arts, literature, media and film — that engage the environment. Our case studies will be critically examined through a range of meetings, in class or in a public venue, with other lecturers, experts, artists, volunteers, and DCC employees. Students will be required to both engage in person with the people we will meet and to contribute their informed opinion through recourse to blogs and a journal.

  3. Towards the semester’s end, students will have time to prepare their collaborative research projects, under the guidance of the paper lecturer.

  4. In the last week, students will both share their projects and put together their portfolio, including a self-reflection.

Teaching Arrangements

The paper meets for three hours a week, once for two consecutive hours. No lectures or tutorial. The paper follows the seminar format, i.e., students are asked to participate at all times.

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