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Core Courses

The M.Phil comprises two core courses, which are compulsory, plus two additional electives from the approved list.

The core courses: 

1. EARTH, ECOLOGY, HUMANITIES
ELL5024F (Convenor: Hedley Twidle) 

This interdisciplinary seminar considers the rich and difficult terrain where questions of ecological thought and environmental science interact with the humanities: with sociology, anthropology, history, imaginative writing, film, critical theory and the creative arts. Debates about ecology and the environment are often dominated by the specialized and instrumental languages of science, public policy and developmental economics. Yet the challenge of the Anthropocene age is related in crucial ways to the imaginative capacity of humans as a species: to imagining who we are and what it means to be human at a time when we have fundamentally altered our planetary home. 

Earth Ecology Humanities has been praised by external examiners as  "an excellent model of what happens when multi-disciplinarity is taken seriously, and thoughtfully put into practice". The co-taught course is a platform for thinkers and teachers from across the Faculty to present research in progress, and to model how questions of environment and environmental justice take shape in their respective intellectual worlds. The course is offered as a kind of 'un-disciplining', in which students are exposed to a variety of intellectual and artistic approaches that may be very different to what they are used to. It is a challenging, experimental and sometimes unpredictable pedagogical space in which shared terms are gradually evolved: a process of breaking apart received ideas prior to the reconstructive project of developing a research proposal in the second semester. For further course information / outlines, email hedley.twidle@uct.ac.za

 

2. RESEARCHING THE ANTHROPOCENE 
AXL5414S (Convenors: Lesley Green and Nikiwe Solomon)

The term “anthropocene”, taken up by geologists to describe the era in which the effects of collective human action have become “significant on the scale of Earth history”, compels a rethinking of the divides between the human sciences and the natural sciences. The implication is that conceptual divisions between society and nature need to be rethought, and that new approaches to research are needed to speak to the challenges of comprehending the interconnections of human life, earth systems, and species. The issue is not only about creating new data sets, but about how to bring the different data sets into dialogue, to rethink the conceptual structures of the data sets themselves, and to work out how to speak to the gaps between them. This course offers an introduction to research methods that are needed in order to bring these interconnectivities and parts and wholes, into public discussion and decision-making. It specifically seeks to build on current conversations across the south on the intersection of decolonial literatures and the post-humanities.

Click here for further electives.