SUM4033 – Environmental Humanities: From Civil Disobedience to Extinction Rebellion

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Course content


The Environmental Humanities is a new area of interdisciplinary studies of the environmental and climate crisis. Drawing on the legacy of, among others, Norway’s greatest nature philosopher, Arne Næss, the aim of this course to better understand the complex relation between cultural, economic and political sources of environmental degradation and the climate crisis. Its overarching goal is to propose new, audacious ways of creating a sustainable future.       

The course invites students to examine the environmental and climate crisis through the lens of philosophy and ethics, literary traditions, history, media, landscape studies, and the arts. The course covers thus a broad spectrum of research areas, such as environmental history and anthropology; climate and environmental ethics; literature/media studies; studies of the nexus environment-religion-ideology; studies of landscape and identity; studies of the relationship between culture, conflict and the climate crisis.

The objective of the course is to re-read the most "revolutionary" texts and actions in socio-environmental history – such as Henry David Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience,” Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, Arne Næss’s Deep Ecology in theory and action – to provide students with the knowledge of the literature which has changed the ways we think about development and the environment today.

The course is based on a rich combination of lectures, film-presentations, “creating the future” seminars, and Deep Time Walk.

Learning outcome

  • To understand the mechanisms of effective environmental communication;
  • To appreciate the connection between environmental ethics and cultural narratives on the one hand, and the environmental and climate crisis, on the other.
  • To critically evaluate big climate mobilizations, to better understand the conditions of achieving maximum success in combatting the climate crisis.


You may apply to be a guest student at SUM. Please follow these instructions.


The course is based on a rich combination of lectures, film-presentations, “creating the future” seminars, and Deep Time Journey - or learning environmental ethics and philosophy through direct interaction with nature.

The attendance at lectures and seminars is obligatory.


Home exam.

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit your assignment.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

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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Special examination arrangements

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Facts about this course






Spring 2020

The teaching period in spring 2020 is April 15th - May 18th


Spring 2020

Teaching language