Spring 2021 - GEOG 389W D100

Nature and Society (4)

Class Number: 2789

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 2:30 PM – 4:20 PM

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 20, 2021
    11:59 PM – 11:59 PM
    TAKE HOME-EXAM, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    John Irwin
    Office Hours: Virtual Office Hours: Tu 10:30 AM-11:30 AM or email to set another time.
  • Prerequisites:

    At least 45 units, including GEOG 100 or REM 100.



Examines the relationship between nature and society, covering the dominant geographical approaches to human-environment interaction, and their social, spatial, and political economic effects. Writing.


The course covers current approaches in political ecology and introduces other approaches for analyzing humans’ relation to ecological systems. Environmental interactions with biophysical systems are intimately bound up in ‘environmental politics’, this course assesses the institutions and actors involved in these politicized social-environmental interactions. Emphasis is placed on the quality of the written work, given that this is a writing course.

Delivery Method: Remote – Lecture: synchronous with asynchronous recorded option, synchronous tutorial, with the option to switch tutorials if the time slot does not match some students’ schedules.

Note: Two hours of lecture and two hours of tutorial each week. There will be NO tutorials the first week of class.


  • Tutorials, of which: Participation 10%
  • Tutorials, of which: Critical Review of Reading (1 presentation) 15%
  • Tutorials, of which: Policy Analysis Brief 15%
  • Term Paper 30%
  • Final Exam (take home) 30%


Grading Scale:

              A+         91-100%                                                    C+              61-65%

              A           86-90%                                                                     C           56-60%

              A-          81-85%                                                                     C-          51-55%

              B+         76-80%                                                                     D           46-50%

              B           71-75%                                                                     F/N       45% and Below

              B-          66-70%             



Technical Requirements:

Ability to use online platforms, BlackBoard Collaborate.


Environment and Society: A Critical Introduction, 2nd Edition , Robbins et al., (Malden, MA : Wiley-Blackwell, 2013). ISBN: 978-1-118-45155-7, available on VitalSource.

Additional weekly readings for tutorials will be available electronically on Canvas.


Making sense: a student's guide to research and writing: geography and environmental sciences, Northey et al., Seventh Edition (Don Mills, Ont.: Oxford University Press, 2015).

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).