Fall 2017 - SA 396 D100

Selected Regional Areas (SA) (4)

Env. in the Global South

Class Number: 6849

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 5 – Dec 4, 2017: Fri, 1:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Ataman Avdan
    Office: AQ 5088
    Office Hours: Fridays, 12:00-13:00 or by appointment
  • Prerequisites:

    SA 101 or 150 or 201W.



An examination of selected aspects of social structure, culture and processes of social change in a specific regional area. The focus will vary from term to term.


SA 396-4 Environmentalism in the Global South: Issues and Struggles
This course focuses on the struggles and actions over environmental issues in the context of the global South. Environmentalism has long been understood as a “First World” phenomenon, an advocacy movement that is powered by urban, university educated, middle class, “concerned” citizens who want to protect nature from ever-expanding industrialization and urbanization. However, the growing environmental struggles of peoples in the global South compel us to acknowledge and account for the diverse environmentalisms around the world. The terrain of environmentalism in the global South is a result of uneven power geometries, and the non-linear and contentious processes of colonization, capitalism, and globalization. Contemporary environmental movements that challenge these historical processes are characterized by diverse actors, strategies, tactics, actions, political orientations, institutional contexts, and outcomes.

Drawing on several cases across Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, this course explores the burgeoning of environmental movements in the global South since the last quarter of the twentieth century. We will start with a theoretical discussion on environmental movements where we will look at the strengths and weaknesses of several approaches/perspectives that attempt to explain how different people(s) experience socio-environmental change and fight for their environment. In the second part of this course, we will discuss multiple dimensions of environmentalisms in the global South through case studies, including but limited to the Chipko Movement (India), the Chico Dam Movement (Philippines), the Rubber Tappers Movement (Brazil), the Bergama Resistance (Turkey), the Zapatista Rebellion (Mexico), the Ogoni Movement (Nigeria), the Nu River Anti-dam Movement (China). 


The objective of this course is to highlight the diversity and varieties of environmentalism in the global South. The course aims to capture the voices and concerns of numerous social actors in the global South while encouraging students to think about the multiple ways that race, class, and gender affect individual and societal responses to environmental problems, as well as the strategies used to accommodate, cope with or resist socio-environmental change, and visions of what is needed and desired.


  • Participation 10%
  • Group presentation 15%
  • Exam (October 27, in-class) 30%
  • Paper proposal (750 words + bibliography) 10%
  • Paper presentation 5%
  • Final paper (2500-3000 words) 30%


Where a final exam is scheduled and you do not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, you will be assigned an N grade. Unless otherwise specified on the course outline, all other graded assignments in this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned.

Academic Dishonesty and Misconduct Policy:
The Department of Sociology and Anthropology follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T 20.01) and academic dishonesty and misconduct procedures (S10.01‐ S10.04).  Unless otherwise informed by your instructor in writing, in graded written assignments you must cite the sources you rely on and include a bibliography/list of references, following an instructor-approved citation style.  It is the responsibility of students to inform themselves of the content of SFU policies available on the SFU website: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student.html.



Required readings available through Canvas, the SFU Library, or online.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/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