Culture, Science and Nature


Course Description

  • Course Name

    Culture, Science and Nature

  • Host University


  • Location

    Sydney, Australia

  • Area of Study

    Climatology/Meteorology, Communication, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Multicultural Studies

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    The subject introduces students to the relationships between cultures and environments including theory and debates about the relationship between culture, science and nature. Drawing on cultural expressions from graphic art and imagery, film and music through to oral and literary forms, students consider how understandings of nature have been shaped by a range of cultures, including Australian Indigenous place making and perceptions of nature in religious or philosophical traditions. Students investigate changing understandings of 'nature', 'the environment' and related terms, from the early modern emergence of sciences challenging theological ideas of nature, to present articulations of a crisis of 'the biosphere' by environmentalists, challenging neoliberal economics. These changing conceptions of nature are considered in the light of cross-cultural comparison across Indigenous and non-Indigenous contemporary societies, inflected by class and gender, in order to analyse the ecological consequences of dominant ideas about nature.
    Subject objectives
    a. Analyse the characteristics of different intellectual approaches to nature through particular cultural texts
    b. Apply theories of interactions between cultural studies, nature and social sciences to their own beliefs, assumptions and expectations about the environment, nature, culture and scientific approaches to them
    c. Facilitate discussion among peers
    Teaching and learning strategies
    This subject consists of a weekly lecture and tutorial. Core texts will include weekly readings, with additional resources available online and in the UTS library. The lectures engage students with key concepts and methods relating to culture, science and nature, and the tutorials encourage students to evaluate and debate theoretical claims through discussion and critical appraisal of the set texts. Tutorials will involve students in group presentations and discussion.
    The subject introduces students to debates, issues and philosophies of relating to nature in contemporary cultures and science. Students will explore the intersections of culture, science and nature in response to a variety of cultural approaches to global environmental change. Students will discuss set texts in class, write a short paper on one of the weekly issues/topics, and write a research essay. Weekly subjects/issues could include:
    Songlines dot-paintings, architecture and Aboriginal philosophies of land and nature
    Maori philosophies of land and the environment as expressed through architecture, music, media and the visual arts
    Nature, philosophy and music in Papua-Niu Guinea
    ?Nature cultures?: cultural formations and the environment
    Nature writing, locative writing, nature cinema and attachments to place
    Birdsong and music
    Nature, walking and psychogeography
    Biofutures: environmental approaches to the biosphere
    The Italian slow food movement
    Cultural and scientific approaches to nature and the environment in India
    Cultural and scientific approaches to nature and the environment in Iceland and Scandinavia
    Assessment task 1: Presentation and Facilitation of Discussion on Weekly Readings
    a and c
    Weight: 20%
    Clarity of analysis of texts
    Relevance of additional case study material
    Relevance of issues raised and identified for discussion
    Effectiveness of strategies for communicating and generating class discussion
    Assessment task 2: Analysis of a Set Reading
    a and b
    Weight: 30%
    Length: 1,500 words
    Coherence of analysis,
    Relevance of issues raised
    Relevance, breadth and depth of sources cited
    Assessment task 3: Essay or Creative Project
    a and b
    Weight: 50%
    Length: 3,000 words or equivalent
    Coherence of analysis,
    Relevance of issues raised
    Relevance, breadth and depth of sources cited

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.