ENVIRON 462 - Topics in Environmental Social Science
Section: 005 When China Comes to Town: Environment and the Politics of Development in Africa
Term: WN 2018
Subject: Program in the Environment (ENVIRON)
Department: LSA Environment
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
At least one environmentally related course prior to this class.
May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Rackham Information:
Rackham credit requires additional work.
Primary Instructor:

In recent years, the increasing influence of China in the contemporary global political economy has been overwhelming. Commentaries on China’s activities have reflected three positions that can be summed up as pessimism, cautious optimism, and optimism. Yet the very existence of these positions challenges scholars to rethink the limitations of development as a paradigm for progress. China’s engagement with the rest of the world, particularly resource-rich countries such as Angola, Venezuela, Ecuador, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Nigeria differs from its relationship with non-resource economies such as Senegal and Guinea. In addition, many Western observers perceive China as a “threat” to the interest of Western economies in the Global South especially sub-Saharan Africa. While both Chinese and Western engagement with the Global South is often couched in the language of “development”, China’s engagement has also been categorized by Western observers as heralding a new scramble for ‘colonies’ because of China’s interest in the exploitation of abundant natural resources. While China and western engagements are often couched in the language of ‘development’, concerns about the impact of such engagement on the environment often take the back seat.

Therefore, this course will address post-colonial states of the Global South as a historically unique social form that presents special challenges for the socioeconomic and political analysis of environment and development. The course will focus on the growing interest of emerging world economic powers such as China in natural resource extraction. While the literature on development is diverse; contemporary debate on development is shaped by the neo-liberal practices of development anchored on the notion of “free market” and those opposed to it as a marker of development for post-colonial states. The role of environment in shaping development, when seen as part of the debate, is often couched in the language of environmental rights or environmental justice as interrelated categories.

ENVIRON 462 - Topics in Environmental Social Science
Schedule Listing
003 (LEC)
TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM
004 (LEC)
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM
005 (LEC)
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM
006 (DIS)
M 9:00AM - 10:00AM
007 (DIS)
M 10:00AM - 11:00AM
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