SUM4024 – Humanist Perspectives on the Environment

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Course content

SUM4024 - Humanist perspectives on the environment is a course which calls attention to how humanists relate to the landscape and environment. How is an appreciation of nature communicated by humanists, and why have some writers and philosophers had such a profound influence in the past and present? How do historians deal with environmental and ideological changes? This course will introduce you to a canon of environmental texts stemming from a wide range of writers, philosophers and historians who have inspired an awareness, appreciation and understanding of the natural world.

Learning outcome

The course will enable students to critically assess why the humanities have been highly influential to our perception of the environment. By exploring literature, historiography and philosophy, and by placing our emphasis on the classics in environmental thought, the students will be given the opportunity to survey and evaluate why even scientific thought takes its starting point with the arts. Students will develop their skills in, and knowledge of, hermeneutics, intertextuality, philosophical arguments, and historical processes as a starting point to understanding changes in our attitudes to the environment. Finally, students will learn to develop and present academic analysis both orally and in written form.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

The course 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.


Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


The exam consists of an 10-12 pages individual take home exam.

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed.

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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

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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.

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