November 23-27: New CEFO & NRHU PhD-Course – Natural Resource Use

CEFO PhD course in cooperation with the Natural Resources and Sustainable Development Program, NRHU, and CSD Uppsala

Natural Resource Use – An Interdisciplinary Perspective on the Challenges of Transformation towards Sustainability

Credits: 7.5 PhD-Course Credits
Course period: November 23-27, 2015 Deadline for course registration October 9
Language: English
Level: Open to PhD and Master students from all disciplines and universities.
Subjects: Natural Resources, Sustainability.

How can perspectives from natural and social sciences be combined for a holistic understanding of present production patterns and sustainability? In our globalized world, vast amounts of natural resources are extracted in order to get society and economy spinning. As conflicts over such resources intensify both globally and nationally, it becomes ever more urgent to understand the biophysical and social consequences of resource extraction, including the mutual interaction of those consequences. Ensuring sustainable development in a global context requires preparing future professionals with the ability to understand and critically analyse the historical and contemporary use of natural resources. This creates a solid foundation for analysing potential short and long-term impacts that decisions aimed at improving sustainability might bring forth. As much as we need to advance in our technical understanding of the natural environment, sustainability also requires an understanding of the social and political realities related to the on-going impacts of human uses of natural resources.
To meet present environmental challenges, and to make a change towards a more sustainable resource use, creative and brave solutions from both the natural and social sciences are necessary. This course aims to create a common ground and language for natural and social scientists in environmental issues and social challenges in order to bring such solutions ahead.

Through lectures, seminars and case studies, the course critically examines themes such as energy production, mining and forestry. It highlights the interdependency between these sectors, as well as the interconnections between global and local socio-economic and environmental processes. The course will cover the analysis of competing scientific discourses and their basic assumptions on the nature of
society, science and the market, but also of various social actors, represented by the chosen study cases. The course will also combine technical perspectives and solutions of present environmental challenges with social viewpoints and discourses from the field of Political Ecology.

Upon completing the course, students are expected to be able to:

  • Display a thorough understanding of the major current exploitation process of natural resources from a natural and social science perspective.
  • Demonstrate a solid understanding of main global economic patterns of natural resources exploitation today and in a historical perspective.
  • Critically analyse different discourses among social actors in rich and poor or poorer countries regarding exploitation of natural resources.
  • Critically analyse the role of the market for a sustainable use of natural resources.
  • Display a thorough understanding of alternatives use of natural resources, pros and contras from a natural and social science perspective.

PhD and Master level students from all academic disciplines are eligible to apply. Preference will be given to PhD students. PhD students need an approval of participation from their supervisor if they wish to formally integrate the course credits in their PhD degree (this will be a matter for each department/PhD student to settle). Students, including master level students, receive a course certificate of participation provided by CEFO/CSD (contingent on completion of course requirements).

i) One longer essay (take-home exam) and shorter written assignments.
ii) Oral presentation in class.
iii) Active participation during the week of teaching in Uppsala.

Books, scholarly articles and reports (to be announced).

Deadline for course registration October 9.
Course coordinators: Simon Davidsson, PhD candidate, NRHU Program and Paula Lenninger, MSc in Sustainable Development.
For further information and registration, please contact