University of Washington School of Public Health

UW SPH News: POL S 527, PLANETARY POLITICS: GOVERNANCE IN THE ANTHROPOCENE

POL S 527, PLANETARY POLITICS: GOVERNANCE IN THE ANTHROPOCENE

08/22/2018
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NEW AUTUMN 2018 COURSE

 

Pol S 527, Special Topics in International Relations Research/Pol S 403B/Envir 495C

  Topic: PLANETARY POLITICS: GOVERNANCE IN THE ANTHROPOCENE

 

Instructor: Prof. Karen Litfin, litfin@uw.edu

Seminar: T 130-420pm

SLN: 23609

Restrictions: Graduate students only in Pol S 527

 

Description: There is a strong scientific consensus that industrial civilization is tipping the Earth system from the Holocene, the interglacial “sweet spot” in which civilization emerged, into entirely new conditions. With humanity, one among unknown millions of species, operating as the primary driver of systemic change upon the planet, the local, national, and global no longer define our only spaces of action: we have become planetary. International Relations, both as a system of knowledge and a set of institutional practices, is therefore challenged by planetary realities.

 

Specific topics will include: climate change (mitigation and adaptation), geoengineering, energy governance, cultural survival, biodiversity, environmental refugees, international trade, and the world food system.

 

The central inquiry of this course is: What kind of politics is commensurate to this new reality? Within this larger inquiry, we will ask ourselves:

  • In terms of institutions, ideologies, norms, and practices, what would a genuinely planetary politics look like?
  • Putting aside utopian and dystopian discourses on the Anthropocene, what are some leverage points for transforming existing institutions, norms and practices in the planetary era?
  • How might such models as Earth System governance, multi-level governance, international law, global grassroots democracy, and low-energy cosmopolitanism inform a planetary politics?
  • How do various perspectives on planetary politics address the yawning chasm between the global rich and the global poor?

Throughout the course, we will engage in contemplative and experiential practices around “human beingness” at the dawn of the Anthropocene.