SUM4012 – Cross-Cultural Perspectives on the Environment

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Course content

This module will explore the ways in which cultural values influence attitudes to nature and impinge on the processes of communication between cultures. Accordingly, this module will focus on the study of religious beliefs, communal ethos, national literature, iconography, constructions of place, models of cultural heroes, ideological allegiances, accepted norms of behaviour, modes of rhetorics, the aesthetics of the environment, etc. and the way they modify or change perceptions of the environment in different cultural contexts. The module will highlight a historical and comparative approach to cultures, focusing both on concrete case studies and on broader issues related to the challenges of globalisation, relation between tradition and innovation, and the interaction between local knowledge (with its norms and values) and the imperatives of and tensions within the cosmopolitan world order.

Learning outcome

  • To provide students with a thorough theoretical understanding of the challenge of sustainability, with an emphasis on cultural perspectives and environmental values
  • To introduce students to the complexities of interdisciplinary research
  • To develop students’ skills in, and knowledge of, philosophical argumentation, historical processes and cultural understanding of environmental problems
  • To use the ongoing case studies provided by SUM researchers to provide practical training to those who may go on to careers in research and policy areas


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Formal prerequisite knowledge

The Masters study is directed at students with a background in humanities, social sciences or the natural sciences. The minimum requirement for admission is that the students must have a bachelor’s degree (equivalent at least to a good second class honours degree from a reputable university). Students with a natural science background should have at least half a year's studies within the humantities or social sciences to prepare them for the interdisciplinary challenges this programme offers. Students must also have a good working knowledge of English, and should be able to read and follow lectures in this language as well as writing a term paper in English.


Lectures and seminars.


8 days take home exam, 6-8 pages.

Language of examination


Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course


This course will no longer be offered


This course will no longer be offered

Teaching language