BA History and Sociology

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
The Crisis of Nature: Issues in Environmental History

Course unit fact file
Unit code HSTM20592
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Why are environmental problems defined as 'wicked problems'? What makes a problem 'wicked'? And do you think you can solve one? Looking at a selection of real life environmental crises, this unit will discuss the following: who speaks on behalf of the environment, who acts on its behalf, and what matters in solving environmental issues?

You will be asked to think locally and globally, working to understand how the two different scales influence the availability of solutions.

The unit encourages you to use creative thinking to answer burning environmental questions. You will produce an original analysis of environmental issues in your immediate vicinity, the campus and the City of Manchester.


A student taking the 20-credit unit will, at the completion of the course, be able:

  • To analyse environmental movements and environmental legislation in the light of key scientific and ethical issues
  • To see the global connections that link environmental changes and understand how technology has changed our relationship with nature on a worldwide scale
  • To analyse the many cultural and historical constructions of nature and to explore ideas about relations between nature and culture
  • To explore local environments and write on observed environmental problems and solutions
  • To explore a judgement or an argument and to work in real-time to present her/his criticisms
  • To take an active role in oral communication and dialogue during debates
  • To find and research an environmental topic
  • To find and critically assess primary and secondary sources
  • To write, with full scholarly apparatus, a report on their individual research project



Learning outcomes




Assessment methods

Essay. 1500 words: 25%

Expedition Photo Essay, 1000 words: 25%

Project, 3500 words: 50%


Feedback methods

All the assessed coursework (essays and projects) is to be submitted electronically via Blackboard. Feedback will be provided once the coursework has been marked. The students will be returned written comments via Blackboard summarising positive aspects and problems.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 12
Seminars 12
Independent study hours
Independent study 176

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Vladimir Jankovic Unit coordinator

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