Spring 2024 - GEOG 389W D100

Nature and Society (4)

Class Number: 2067

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 8 – Apr 12, 2024: Tue, 12:30–2:20 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Rose Collard
    Office: RCB 7224
    Office Hours: (tentative): Tuesdays 10am-noon
  • 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 human-environment relationship is a high-stakes one. Humans depend inescapably on ecological systems, but most economies today grow by degrading these ecologies. From escalating extinction levels to climate change, humans – some more than others – are modifying environments at a rapid pace with devastating consequences for many species’ lives and ways of living. Humans, too, bear these consequences – but not equally. For a long time, some people have profited from ecological change while others have lost out. This means the relationships between society and nature, or humans and the world in which they are entangled, are sites of intense political struggle. To explore these relationships and struggles, in this course we draw on geographical and critical approaches, including political ecology, environmental justice, settler colonial studies, and Indigenous and ecofeminist thought. Through academic and popular readings, writing-focused assignments, lectures, films, and class discussion, the course stages conversation between students and 1) cultural commentaries on nature-society relations, 2) academic ideas about ecological issues, and 3) people struggling to institute more equitable relations with nature. Students will thus refine their ability to contribute to public debate over key nature-related issues, and to make connections between these issues by situating them in shared systems and histories.

There will be no tutorials during the first week of class


  • 3 Reading/film response essays 30%
  • Midterm exam 25%
  • Position paper 25%
  • Tutorial attendance, preparation/questions and participation 20%


Evaluation (tentative)

Grading scale
A+       90-100
A         85-89
A-        80-84 
B+       76-79
B         72-75
B-        68-71
C+       64-67
C         60-63  
C-        55-59
D         50-54
F          0-49



No required course textbook


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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