Perspectives on the Environment DUMF2074

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 2 (SCQF level 8)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

Students will examine environmental issues and attitudes by engaging with a range of written and visual texts, produced between the Romantic period and the present, which bring into focus the historical roots of contemporary cultural and political perspectives on the environment, including colonial constructions of it and the privileged views which have informed environmental issues over time.  The course encourages students to reflect on cultural ideas of living and working in the environment.


2 hours of lectures and up to 2 hours of seminar/tutorial/ work weekly

Requirements of Entry

D3 pass in a L1 course

Excluded Courses



Essay: 50% [ILOs 1, 2, and 3]


Project Work (taking the form of e.g., a poster or blog, changing annually and to be negotiated with the class): 30% [ILOs 2 and 4]


Group Oral Presentation: 20% [ILOs 2, 3 and 4]

Course Aims

The aims of this course are to:

1. provide students with a survey of major developments in cultural and ethical attitudes to the environment since the late C18 to the present, permitting them to analyse the social and historical reasons for the development of changing environmental attitudes during this period.

2. develop an understanding of the social construction of ideas about and definitions of 'nature.'

3. examine a range of texts which illuminate or illustrate topics associated with human inhabitation of the environment, such as place, work and interactions with animals, as well as the wider issue of environmental threat.

4.have students consider their own ecological stance, identifying how cultural attitudes influence their own practice personally and professionally

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:


1. Explain the development of cultural and ethical attitudes to the environment since the late C18 to the present, allowing students to analyse the social and historical reasons for these ideological and attitudinal shifts.

2. Demonstrate understanding of the social constructions of environments.

3. Critically analyse texts which take the natural world, and human interaction with it, as their primary theme.

4.Account for their own ecological stance in cultural and ideological terms, explaining how this relates to personal attitudes and professional practice.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.